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Thunder Axe – Roads Of Thunder Award winner

Thunder Axe
Roads Of Thunder
by Neil Cook at 11 July 2021, 10:40 PM

On their “about” info and bio on their Facebook page describes THUNDER AXE as a “Historic Italian Heavy Metal Band”.  I’m not too sure what the “Historic” part refers to, if it is their own history that goes back to 2000, the band changing their name to THUNDER AXE a year later, and they do have a bit of a tumultuous past, with various lineup changes, a demo and a previous long player under their belts, and even an unexpected death of singer Massimo (Max) Cantù in 2009, or is it their image? The cover definitely conjures up both old school metal and historical images with its blood-stained axe and shield atop a pile of skulls/skeletons adjacent to an ancient road running through the landscape, whilst under a pendulous sky, rent asunder with lightning. A little heavy on the symbolism? Perhaps, but it’s a cool image none the less, or is it the old-school Heavy Metal of their music, which definitely has its roots in the past.  Their sound is pure NWOBHM, and the obvious bands such as IRON MAIDEN, SAXON, ANGEL WITCH et al spring to mind, and THUNDER AXE do it well, which is a very good thing.  Oh, and they are definitely Italian, from Bergamo, Lombardi to be precise, which the writer will not hold against them, as our English Lions are just about to take on Italy in the Euro2020 final (and win one hopes, sorry THUNDER AXE). But this isn’t about Football it is all about the Metal!

And yes in the main we know exactly what we are going to get from their style of Historic Metal, this does not diminish the sound, the quality or the experience of the album “Roads Of Thunder”.  The production is crisp, the twin guitars wail and scream, the drums are played with a heavy foot and hammers of the purest steel and the bass lays down a sexy heavy thump.  And the vocals are suitably, well metal!

From the organ intro of “Queen of Despair” you can tell what we are in for here, Heavy Fuckin’ Metal, played hard, fast and heavy, but with melody and bombast.  There isn’t a bad song on the album.  “Bloodborn” has a bit of a Germanic Power Metal feel to it. “Prodigal Son” could be a lost MAIDEN track.  “The Last Rhyme We'll Know” is one of those slow brooding numbers, very melodramatic, full of emotion. “The Choice” rocks! The riff attack will snap your neck. “All About Me” is perhaps the weakest track, but only by the narrowest of a hairs breadth, and “Merciless And Creepy” has a touch of the PRIEST about it, and with a title like that, it couldn’t go wrong!

There are two songs that need special mention. “The Kingdom Of Deceit” and “Vittoria”.  The former because it is another slower, brooding number, but on another level.  The guitars are sublime and the vocals are incredible, including the low gruff, well growl, just not in the Death Metal sense.  But oh! The soloing!  A really powerful song.  The latter “Vittoria” though is their tour de force.  The song is obviously a passion for the band, they take it up to another level.  I don’t think it would have had the same impact is not sung in their native Italian, it somehow lends the song another level of power, and really gives Francesco’s voice the perfect chance to shine, and that rubs off on the band too.  Best solos on the album.

A faultless albume without a doubt. But, I still hope that  “Vittoria” (victory) is not what their countrymen will be singing after the match.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Queen Of Despair
2. Bloodborn
3. Prodigal Son
4. The Last Rhyme We'll Know
5. The Choice
6. The Kingdom Of Deceit
7. All About Me
8. Vittoria
09. Merciless And Creepy
10. For The Lasting Peace Of Ours (Outro)
Lineup:
Riccardo Capuano Bass
Steve Zambelli  – Guitars
Andrea Lilliu – Guitars
Francesco Bergami – Vocal
Ramon Rossini - Drums
Record Label: Underground Symphony
     


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