Axenstar - Far From Heaven
Arise Records
Melodic Power Metal
10 songs (46:10)
Release year: 0
Axenstar, Arise Records
Reviewed by Mike

Axenstar are back with their second album, both of which are on the Arise Records label. The guys pick up right where they left off with their debut, Perpetual Twilight. I found the debut album to be an enjoyable listen, although there were a few tracks that passed with indifference. It's safe to say that the band has improved since that album. Far From Heaven won't bring these guys into the elite status of the crowded power metal genre, but their second album is a worthy step in that direction.

First off, those of you who insist that all power metal sounds the same, please move on to the next review. Okay, for the rest of you can understand that there are many quality (as well as shitty) power metal bands out there with similar influences, this album may interest you. Without a doubt, Axenstar shows flashes of Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius quite often. However, the guys give the music their own touch in order to create an identity for themselves. The lead vocalist has much improved since the last album. This time around, the lead vocals are much more emotional, whereas most of the vocal lines from the debut sounded just ordinary at best. Harmony vocals are used quite extensively throughout this album as was the case with the debut. I think that the band uses the harmony vocal lines much more effectively with this album that the debut. They certainly allow the numerous melodies to stand out and give the music itself a unique personality. Having said that, I would say that the songwriting in general has matured and improves since the debut. The album is very easy to absorb as there are no weak moments to be found. The debut featured a few moments that showed promise, but the guys have figured out how to maintain a consistent level of high quality with this album. Each song has an addictive melody that will stick with you long after the last song, and the Sonata Arctica like keyboard textures add a wonderful atmosphere to the music in general. The riffs on this album are much more interesting and powerful than those on the debut. I hear a distinct Stratovarius flavor in the riffing throughout the album as well. I should also note that the production on this album is very professional sounding, another improvement from the last album.

As far as power metal goes, Axenstar is a band that is worth checking out. Sure, the guys have their obvious influences, but they are still able to come up with some quality arrangements and demonstrate the ability to color the songs with their own recognizable style. Far From Heaven is a very enjoyable listen, but I can't say that there were many moments (although Abondoned is a killer!) that simply blew me away like the "big boys" of the genre: Iron Savior, Sonata Arctica, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, etc… With this being only the bands' second album though, I would say things are coming together quite nicely. The songs in general are of a higher quality, and the individual ingredients come together much better than on Perpetual Twilight. Further growth in the songwriting department will only help Axenstar win over more fans of melodic power metal.

Killing Songs :
Blind Leading the Blind and Abondoned
Mike quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Axenstar that we have reviewed:
Axenstar - The Final Requiem reviewed by Cody and quoted 70 / 100
Axenstar - The Inquisition reviewed by Chris and quoted 82 / 100
Axenstar - Perpetual Twilight reviewed by Mike and quoted 75 / 100
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