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The lords of the realm - AxeHammer - are back for vengeance, again ready to rise up with passion and power. These wind riders of destiny re-awaken the fire that burns within us all to hear True Traditional US Metal. If you are fans of Destiny's End, Steel Assassin, Pharaoh, Gothic Knights, Liege Lord, Seven Witches, etc. or any of the Classic Metal acts signed to Pure Steel Records such as ASKA, Artizan, Omen, Zandelle, or Exxplorer then these demon killers will slay your souls, like when they slayed the dragon of the shadowlands. In fact, Horacio Colmenares has joined the band on bass, and if you are a fan of his guitar work with New Eden or Steel Prophet you know just what to expect with his dynamic delivery.
Breath deep the dark wings of fire and fretboad transition, as long term member Jerry Watt continues to deliver his sacred waver with each swing of his axe, hammering salacious steel chords into our mettle hearts. His style resembles Jack Frost, Larry Barragan of Helstar, or Dan DeLucie from Crescent Shield. While dancing with demons in his head, never sedentary drummer Joe Aghassi is destined to deliver that punishing and pulsating blow until the living end.
New vocalist Kleber Mandrake has a decent range reminiscent of what Wade Black or Todd Michael Hall of Reverence reveal, but he is not as accomplished as Joe Cameau, James Rivera or Bobby "Leather Lungs" Lucas; although much of the music does mirror 'Return Of The Snow Giant' by Overlorde.
AxeHammer stand and deliver, and every song has merit and worth, and will surely fire away and allay any fear that they are the real deal. The stand-out tracks would defintely be "Swing The Steel", "Midnight Train" and "Cemetery". Here armed with sword and shield, they step outside the myth and mystery and almost take a macabre horror stance, as they deal with desperate subjects.
Sadly, I do not think the songs are as infectious or as memorable as what their sophomore album 'WindRider' delivered. I must also comment on the deplorable production, which sounds more like a demo recording, than a full-length release.
I will never forget when I purchased the Sentinel Steel Records re-release of the self-titled (EP). I did not know about the band prior to this, and I have supported them since. For a band that has existed for over three decades, anbd only released three albums, they definitely have to deliver quality material. I understand that original vocalist Bill Ramp had to step down due to illness, I just miss his grittty affectations and ability to make the songs resonate more.
Overall, this is an excellent album, which suffers from
poor production, and less than exceptional songwriting, but it still
deserves recognition and praise just for the fact that the band are
still breaking down the walls, and that despite all odds they continue