Axxis – Rediscover(ed)

It’s that time of the year again! Yet another metal band has released a cover album, joining the ranks of Hammerfall, Metallica, Iced Earth and Children of Bodom.

Covering songs is a tough job, no doubt about that. While some artists have been able to go beyond the original (Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt”, the re-interpretation that Apocalyptica and Maiden United did of Metallica and Iron Maiden, respectively, and even Marilyn Manson’s superb cover of “Sweet Dreams”) others limit themselves to play the exact same track, adding nothing to the mix. Sadly, this is the case of Axxis‘ latest work, reDISCOver(ed).

Founded in 1988, Axxis is a Germany Heavy Metal band that rose to fame with its debut album, Kingdom of the Night,which took the German charts by storm.

Despite being a band known for playing traditional heavy metal, even with some elements from power metal (after all, Germany gave birth to this genre) Axxis took a wild turn this time, with an album that covers classic songs, the majority of which are from the 80s and can hardly be classified as metal; while this last point could be a great thing, if the band had adapted the music to their own sound, in this case it wasn’t.

The biggest flaw in this album is not that it sounds bad, Bernhard Weiß‘ voice is as flawless as usual, but rather that it comes off as unnecessary and, honestly, inexplicable. Because of the songs presented in the album are not exactly dominating the radio waves anymore, it’s obvious that the band didn’t aim to cash in on them. Talking about the album, Weiß explained that it isn’t a “real” Axxis release, and perhaps that’s the key to understand it. The band wanted to enjoy themselves and do what every musician did at some point, namely to play the songs that shaped their youth… the problem is that while that might be fun to do while jamming at home, it might not be such a good idea to use it in an album.

In most (if not all) cases you get the feeling that the band had been listening to the original songs and then decided to clone it, adding just enough electric guitars and heavy drums to give them a fresher feel. The effect of this is that you get the feeling (especially if you listen to it without knowing the track list) “oh, hey, I know that song!” only to realize that it’s almost the exact same track, played by a different band. And while some of the tracks can be fun to listen to, such as “Stayin’ Alive”, the album doesn’t manage to keep you interested.

Axxis is by no means a bad band, and this album could have definitely been much better; they lost an opportunity to really imprint their sound into these classic tracks and “metalize” them (forgive this attack against the English language) opting to release a bland album that fails to deliver the power that the band is known for. The performances are great, “Message in a Bottle” and “Ma Baker” are really great tracks (especially the latter) but the level of innovation is limited.

Oh, and speaking about unnecessary covers… “My Heart Will Go On”!? Really?! Granted, the “power ballad” element makes it better than the original… but let’s not pretend that such a thing was a tough feat.[signoff predefined=”Signoff 1″][/signoff]