Released: 2009, AFM
Reviewer: Alan Gilkeson
How so many of these German Power Metal bands have survived remains one of the world's greatest mysteries. Over the top and missing the tri-tone, the poppy sound of happy Metal hangs on year after year, even developing a bit here and there. Axxis happen to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut KINGDOM OF THE NIGHT, an album that was much more Scorpions than Helloween or Gamma Ray, but still a nice piece all the same.
Given the history of Axxis, the past four of five albums have followed the same blueprint, mixing keyboards and a bit of Electronica with the typical German Power Metal fare. A symmetry and artistic balance exist in a fluent well versed protocol. With UTOPIA, founding members Bernhard Weiss (vocals) and Harry Oellers (keys) further their catalogue with an almost definitive sound, though still stuck with the barriers of their genre, they manage to come up with a nice record full of highly intelligent tunes. Rockers like 'Fass Mich An' and 'Eyes of a Child' use hooky and catchy keys and choruses, the former even features a heavy, almost brutal, kick drum at the outro. Closer 'Underworld' is probably the most powerful track while at the same time it is the most Euro Power Metal tune on the disc.
Credit should be given to these fellows. Despite overwhelming odds and mostly flying under the radar for twenty years, they've persevered, created some great music, and weathered tough times. Extra kudos for somehow remaining on the cusp of relevance, while their peers are most often germane (see Helloween) and sound the same as they did in the 80s, Axxis have continuously evolved and held on.