Axxis - 'Kingdom Of The Night Part II'

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Axxis - 'Kingdom Of The Night Part II'

I'd highly recommend both albums.

After the release of the very heavy 'Utopia' back in 2009 and the highly controversial 'reDISCOver(ed)' in 2012, German Hard Rock band Axxis finally present us with a new album. 'Kingdom of the Night Part II' is their way to celebrate and look back over twenty five years of history, experiences, changes, life and, of course, music. In fact, twenty five years is so long that the band have actually released two separate albums, a 'White Edition' and a 'Black Edition', with distinctly different musical flavours.

So, what did I expect when I received the albums and was ready to listen to them for the first time? Nothing actually, as whenever a new Axxis album has been released it felt like the guys had taken their style, their sound, even the instruments they used to pieces and then formed something completely new. One would never know what to expect from any new Axxis album. It is the same this time. These albums again show a 'mettlesome' mixture concerning musical style, sound and song-writing.

I put the 'Black Edition' into my player to start and I have to admit that I wasn't hooked at first. I liked it but I thought that it sounded very modern. So I then decided to switch over to the 'White Edition' and "try again later" with the 'Black' one. The 'White Edition' is a sort of a tribute to the past twenty five years and represents the band's different stages, styles and experiences. The opener 'Hall of Fame' is a heavy, catchy, up-tempo Rock song with very interesting lyrics. It's great, as are 'Temple of Rock', 'Take Me Far Away' and 'Dance Into Life'; just rock your heart out! 'Heaven In Paradise' sounds extremely modern to me and I have to say that I still haven't got used to it, however it's a powerful, hymn-like track. 'Living In A Dream' was created to be an ode to 'Living In A World' and it grew out to be an interesting, cool track. '21 Crosses' deals with the touching topic of the love parade disaster in 2010 and is an awesomely composed reminder that gave me goose-bumps. 'Mary Married A Monster' delivers a deep and important message wrapped in trenchant, yet even confusing melodies since the up-beat and rather "happy" melody doesn't seem to fit with the lyrics at all. 'We Are the World' is my favourite track on the 'White Edition', bassist Rob Schomaker's ability to play the mandolin enabling the band to create this fantastic, heavy but folk-tinged rock song.

I then went back to listen to the 'Black Edition' again and probably understood better that "Yin and Yang" theme the band wanted to create. The 'Black Edition', the heavier album, starts with 'Kingdom Of The Night Part II', the second ode to one of the band's most successful albums of their career. It sounds a lot different than the original 'Kingdom...' and I especially liked the very fast and heavy drums and the very varied guitar parts. The only German title 'Lass Dich Gehn' and also 'Venom' have that special, heavy 'Utopia' sound with great riffs and choruses - awesome. Axxis also include a second version of '...Monster' which is a lot darker, more angry and energetic. The other songs are all impulsive, partly dark-sounding, maybe even say Progressively influenced tracks with a rather modern sound that predominantly runs through the 'Black Edition' like a common thread.

Again, I had to get used to a completely new and different sound but after more than one week of only having Axxis in my player I still don't get bored, quite the opposite! Dealing with the albums means to discover the numerous hidden elements, details and deep messages. This band is neither superficial nor simplistic, nor is this "just another Axxis album" (or two). They mean to represent the extreme diversity and mutability that this band have shown during the past twenty five years. It's a wonderful and engrossing journey through time.

As a conclusion, the "addictive potential" of 'Kingdom Of The Night Part II' is huge and I'd highly recommend both albums.

Julia Braun

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