Axenstar ‘End Of All Hope’
Album Review By Adam McCann
Ram It Down Records/Power Metal
It was 2014 since Axenstar last graced us with an album and whilst ‘Where Dreams Are Forgotten’ was far from the bands best work, it was still a decent album full of everything that is expected from a power metal album. Yet 2019 has the Swedish headbangers return with their latest album ‘End Of All Hope’.
It would be foolish to think that Axenstar would suddenly change their sound when approaching their latest work, thus, ‘End…’ does not push against the boundaries already lain out before them. However, that is far from criticism as there is no need to fix what isn’t broken and because of this ‘End…’ has some very catchy songs that ooze infectious melodies and excellent arrangements that do their utmost to guarantee that the latest Axenstar album is nothing short of enjoyable. Therefore, ‘End…’ will be hugely appealing to fans of HammerFall, Iron Fire, Power Quest and early Sonata Arctica.
Unfortunately, the major drawback to ‘End…’ is its limited production; this album is quite raw and whilst it gives an insight into how Axenstar sound within the live environment, the overarching production is something that does not befit a power metal album of this nature; leaving the overall feeling being rather flat and one-dimensional. This leaves the listener knowing that ‘End…’ would sound on another epic level all together, easily being able to challenge the leaders within the genre given a large budget. Yet, the calibre of the songs here allows the band to move beyond this issue, tracks such as ‘Honor And Victory’, ‘King Of Fools’ and ‘My Kingdom Come’ have all the energy and enjoyable replayability of HammerFall, Stratovarius and even Nocturnal Rites, whilst ‘A Moment In Time’ flows with beautiful vocal harmonies that not only harks back to 60’s The Beach Boys vibes, but also one which touches on melodic rock and AOR.
All in all, ‘End…’ is an album which is more than decent, it will be sadly eclipsed by the corporate power behind the leaders within the genre, but that takes nothing away from this album; it is enjoyable, fun and definitely worth the time to listen and appreciate in its entirety.
Rating : 80/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann