It’s not easy to write about AXENSTAR. They’re a band that rarely has any “holy cow!” moments in their songs, but they’re also a band that never has a low-point or any filler on their albums. They are extremely consistent – which is a pretty hard thing to do in the changing world of metal, and Where Dreams Are Forgotten (out now, Inner Wound Recordings) is no exception.
As per their usual, most of the songs are hard driving riff fests with memorable choruses. “Fear” starts off the album with an extremely memorable riff, and is arguably the best song on the disc. It’s a fast paced headbanger with a huge hook of a chorus that will circle around in your head for hours after hearing it.
Other outstanding up-tempo tracks are “My Sacrifice”, the somewhat haunting “Curse of the Tyrant”, and “Demise”. “The Return” and “Annihilation” both show the more melodic (yet speedy) side of AXENSTAR, and they don’t disappoint.
As I said – AXENSTAR is very consistent, even to a fault. They’ve matured over the years and over six releases, but without really departing much at all from their signature sound. There’s not anything on this new release that makes my jaw drop or brings anything new to the table, despite the amazing talents of everyone involved in this band. Also, the vocals really needed to be louder in the mix in some songs – they get a little muffled and overwhelmed, but not in a deal-breaker way.
Still, AXENSTAR provides us with 11 very good tracks, and one can’t ask for much more than that. It’s a very solid, very good release – it’s just not the great one that it could be. AXENSTAR usually makes it into my top 25 when they release an album, but never make the leap into the upper echelons. If you enjoy solid speed/power metal, pick this up today – you won’t be disappointed.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Fear”, “My Sacrifice”, “Demise”, “The Return”
WRITTEN BY FRANK ZABER