Axxis - 'Best Of EMI-Years'

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Axxis - 'Best Of EMI-Years'

If you haven't yet succumbed to the band's overt charm, then this is as good a place to start.

Now celebrating their 30th anniversary, Axxis have been a very busy band over the past five years, having released several studio albums, DVDs and their first Blu-Ray. Like quite a few acts in recent years, they found themselves denied the rights to their earlier albums, so in true determined fashion, they decided to re-record their favourite tracks from their first five EMI albums using modern production techniques and release them as a two-disc album.

I've been a diehard fan since hearing the awesome 'Kingdom Of The Night' back in 1989 and seeing them support Black Sabbath on their UK tour around the same time, and their follow-up 'II' was even better. Granted, Bernhard Weiss' heavily accented vocals are an acquired taste, but their catchy Melodic Metal and thundering riffs, delivered with a pure joie de vivre, just seem to dare you not to get caught up in their magical groove – just take a listen to the wonderfully upbeat and catchy 'Living In A World' or the boisterous 'Little Look Back'. The group can also slow things down whilst exploring environmental issues; witness the emotionally raw 'Tears Of The Trees'.

The first two albums from their five EMI releases were by far the best, and this collection sees nine songs from the debut and six from the follow-up, with only three from 'The Big Thrill' and two each from 'Matters Of Survival' and 'Voodoo Vibes'.

With no bonus tracks and the arrangements sticking very close to the originals, there's not much here for the already converted, but if you haven't yet succumbed to the band's overt charm, then this is as good a place to start as any – this compilation is indispensable in its own right.

Bruce Mee

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