6/30/2011 - Review by: Anthony Burke
Sweden's power metal outfit, Axenstar, is back after five long years. Their last record, The Final Requiem came out in 2006, so fans have long been waiting on Aftermath, their fifth full length release. In between releases, the band has replaced their drummer to Adam Lindberg, one of their guitarists to Jens Klovegård, and their record label, Ice Warrior Records. Vocalist, keyboardist Magnus Winterwild has now added bass duties to his repertoire, at least for this record. So, as you can see, the band took a bit of an overhaul in their downtime, but the sound did not get overhauled, yet they improved it. One such improvement is the ageed but quality vocal stylings of Magnus Winterwild [who is a phenominal bass player]. Another difference is the speedy and hardhitting drumwork of Adam Lindberg. Mix that with great production, and the finished product is Aftermath.
Axenstar drops the metal hammer with tracks such as Dogs of War, The Escape, Agony & Dead Kingdom, and the strong finish Forever The Pain, which starts very sinister and kicks in to high gear soon after. Tracks like the title track make the listener wonder if a Dragonforce album was accidentally slipped into their player. Here, the keyboards are so prodominent it takes away from the song. The other 4 tracks were just there to fill an album. Let's not get it twisted, new and previous fans of the band will enjoy Aftermath, it has great parts, and for the longtime fans, it is darker than before, and if nothing else, you will listen to it for the novelty that is Axenstar. The foursome is still capable of writing catchy songs with prominent leads, breaks and strong melodies. Still power metal but with more progressive influences, a tried and true formula that makes the group stand out in their genre. I just feel that after 5 years, it should have been stellar, not mediocre.
Without mincing any more words, Aftermath is a decent release. I still hold a soft spot for the 2003 release Far from Heaven, but Aftermath will certainly appeal to a wider audience overall with its polished sound and solid performance. This album will not take the world by storm, however, it is worthy of a spin or three.
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