Axxis - Utopia
AFM Records
Power Metal
11 songs (49:27)
Release year: 2009
Axxis, AFM Records
Reviewed by Kyle

Poor Chris. He’s been a bit busy lately and hasn’t had time to write reviews on a regular basis, and now two of his favorite bands (Which he’s reviewed nearly the entire discography of) have been reviewed by someone else in the past two weeks. The first was Edguy’s new live album, Fucking With F***, and now here I am reviewing Utopia, the latest album from the German Power Metal Powerhouse Axxis. I have to thank Chris here for giving me the opportunity to review their newest record, which I would’ve felt almost bad about critiquing… That is, if he hadn’t told me that he thought Utopia was the weakest of Axxis’ last four albums. I’ve listened to the album in its entirety many, many times since then, and I think I can understand why he would say that, though I don’t think “Weak” is the proper word to describe Utopia. It’s not weak in the least bit; The music is heavier, faster, and ballsier than ever before. But it lacks something… I’m really not sure what. It’s something that was there on Doom Of Destiny, and it’s still present, just not as much. But don’t let that dissuade you, because Axxis have yet again put forth an effort that’s head and shoulders above most Power Metal albums today.

Axxis has said that Utopia is the next logical step forward after Doom Of Destiny, and they are absolutely right. It is, for the most part, fairly similar to DoD, with a few noticeable changes. The most apparent change is that Utopia relies on much heavier and diverse use of synths. This lends most of the songs either a more epic or eerie tone, depending on which effects are used. Last Man On Earth and Sarah Wanna Die have some awesome melodies throughout and particularly in the intro, and both of them give off a vaguely creepy vibe. Other songs like Heavy Rain and Underworld use the synths to their advantage to make the song much more epic and catchy. All of the songs are very cheesy and fun, as is typical of Axxis, and fans will undoubtedly enjoy Utopia.

The tracks on Utopia are more diverse than what was heard on DoD. The most diverse of them is Fass Mich An, a guitar-centric song that’s sung entirely in German. Another highlight is The Monsters Crawl, which is slower than your average Axxis Power Metal song and features some fantastic vocal melodies and synths. The title track of Utopia is another favorite, and reminds me a lot of Blood Angel from the Doom Of Destiny album. Fathers’ Eyes is the sole ballad, and easily one of the band’s best as far as ballads go. It manages to be emotional without sounding too over the top and ridiculous, which I think was the downfall of DOD’s ballad, The Fire Still Burns.

Bernhard Weiss’ vocals haven’t changed too much since Doom Of Destiny, but they’ve had some very subtle tweaking that at first isn’t noticeable. However, when you listen to Doom Of Destiny and Utopia back to back, his voice sounds almost more pure than before. His vibrato has really been toned down (I thought it sounded rather ridiculous on DOD), letting the notes shine through unhindered by that obtrusive warble. It’s still there, of course, only now it’s more subtle and less annoying.

Utopia is the first Axxis album where I like all of the tracks almost equally. On their past records, I would love most of the tracks, but the album would be held back by a few less-than-outstanding songs. Here, however, all of the songs are great, but there’s still that weird, unnamed quality that was present on Doom Of Destiny yet is absent on Utopia. I seriously can’t pick out what it is! Maybe this album is just too heavy on synthesizers for its own good… but that doesn’t seem right. It’s really not that big of a deal though, and I’m loving Utopia more and more with every single listen. I had this same problem with Paradise In Flames, which is now one of my favorite Axxis albums, so maybe in the future I’ll hold this album as high in regard as the amazing Doom Of Destiny. If you liked that album, then you’ll surely enjoy this one, and it’s a must-listen for all Axxis fans, and Power Metal fans in general.

By the way. A girl dressed in leather carrying a flaming whip while riding a massive serpent on a wave with a futuristic city encased in a glass dome in the background = METAL. Easily one of the best album covers I've ever seen.

Killing Songs :
Kyle quoted 88 / 100
Chris quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Axxis that we have reviewed:
Axxis - Kingdom of the Night II - White Edition reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
Axxis - Kingdom of the Night II - Black Edition reviewed by Chris and quoted 92 / 100
Axxis - ReDISCOver(ed) reviewed by Chris and quoted no quote
Axxis - Doom Of Destiny reviewed by Chris and quoted 94 / 100
Axxis - Paradise In Flames reviewed by Chris and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 16 reviews click here
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