June 14, 2008

CD Review: Axxis - Doom of Destiny

Axxis is another one of those bands that I had never heard of prior to their latest CD, Doom of Destiny, arriving on my doorstep. They are a power metal band, hailing from Germany, in the tradition of Helloween and Gamma Ray. The band is a veteran of the scene, having made their debut way back in 1988 with Kingdom of Night. Here they are, two decades into their career which has spanned eleven albums, an EP, and a "best of" collection, and I am just learning of their existence. Of course, that feat is not hard to accomplish, what with my late start in music, and the large number of bands that I have not yet had time to search for. It is unbelievable how many quality (and not so quality) bands are out there, it is impossible to find and keep up with them all, but I do what I can. Enough about me, I am sure you are all eager to know what I think of Doom of Destiny. Well, I like it. More? Okay.

The album begins with an orchestral intro with a choir singing about sacrifice, the world going up in fire, and destiny. It is quite the stage setter as it leads into the energetic opening song, and title track, "Doom of Destiny (Arabia)."

This first song gets the album off to a strong start with crisp guitars leading a catchy melody. The song is very easy to get into, and features male and female vocals from bandleader Bernhard Weiss and female vocalist Lakonia. Weiss' voice is not the strongest, but it is distinctive and helps focus the sound of the band (he is the primary songwriter as well). Behind him delivering a solid metal unit are Henry Oellers on keyboards, Rob Schomaker on bass, Andre Hilgers at the drum kit, and Marco Wriedt on guitar. They all make this opening a strong experience that leads through most of the rest of the album.

Doom of Destiny is a solid album from front to back, it has its high and low points, but is solid throughout. Therein lies a big problem, well maybe not that big, it is "merely" solid. It is an easy listen, you can put this on, listen to it straight through and completely enjoy it, but you will notice that it lacks something. It never makes a push to break through the ceiling and transcend the genre. This lack of greatness, for lack of a better word, ultimately holds this back from being a classic, but its solid songwriting and skilled musicianship makes it a desirable album. It is strange in that sense.

Do not read into this that I think it is a bad album, it isn't. Doom of Destiny delivers what you would expect from a good power metal album. There is a big expansive sound, songs that border on the epic, catchy riffs, and great melody. The album has the added bonus of Bernhard Weiss/Lakonia dueling vocals. I read that Lakonia made her first appearance on the band's last album, Paradise in Flames, but has stepped up her influence on this record. I do not know what they sounded like before her arrival, but I like the dynamic she adds to the sound.

When you slip the disk in and press play, here are the highlights: "Doom of Destiny (Arabia)," "Blood Angel," "The Fire Still Burns," and "Father, Father."

Bottomline. This a strong power metal entry that should itch the scratch you have. I cannot compare to their prior releases, having come to this band cold with this record, but I have to believe that it will compare favorably. Definitely check this out, it is well worth the time.



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