Axenstar - The Final Requiem
Massacre Records
Power Metal
12 songs (54:27)
Release year: 2006
Axenstar, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Cody

After being exposed to The Inquisition, the third studio album by Swedish power metallers Axenstar, I was excited when I got the opportunity to review their latest effort, The Final Requiem. I took great pleasure in listening to my introduction to the band, which I found to be refreshingly well written in a drenched power metal scene, with neo-classical solos of guitars and keyboards making up the bulk of the melodies, along with a few aggressive moments thrown in as well. Between all the Rhapsody's and the Sonata Arctica's of the world, we are left with a few strays that make an impact on the metal music scene where listeners can truly differentiate between styles. Axenstar has been a solid example of a band that defies common stereotypes by delivering a fluid performance while sidestepping some of the sterotypes that bring so much chagrin to the genre (i.e. bombastic flair, and symphonic interludes). Alas though, new years bring new material to be scrutinized, can this band's latest maintain it's blockade against criticism?

The album opens with the self titled tune The Final Requiem which is a respectable namesake for the album. Magnus Eriksson shows that while he isn't the greatest of singers, his style is a great fit for this band and really magnifies the positives of this song/album/band. This begins as a flighty power metal tune with plenty of pick me up to set off this album on a good note and is bound to attract traditional metallers with several pure metal riffs giving these guys the potential for a larger audience and not written off as a standard "flower metal" outfit. Unfortunately, the rest of the album, while maintaining the positives of this song and the band's sound overall, really does not have the same level of songwriting as their previous outing.

Unlike The Inquisition, The Final Requiem does not have the same memorable hooks, chords, riffs and any other musical keyword than one can throw out there. The songwriting is simply not up to the standards of previous albums. Am I being over analytical? Possibly, but I can't bring myself to enjoy this album as much as their previous effort. To me, The Final Requiem sounds too much like the countless power metal replicas coming out year after year hoping to get a small sliver of the pie that several of their counterparts are receiving. This in no way means this album is bad, nor am I accusing the band of selling out, but in order to succeed in the power metal marketplace with fans that are constantly looking for the next big thing at a ferocious pace, you have to be over-critical of bands in this genre. If you compare The Final Requiem to Firewind's Allegiance you'll see the difference I am speaking of; on one hand you have top quality metal, and on the other you have satisfactory metal, but not incredibly memorable.

Upon listening to The Final Requiem several times in an attempt to absorb all their was to enjoy (or not to enjoy), I am left with a sensation of wanting more from an album that had so much promise. After listening to The Inquisition, I know that this band has all the capability in the world to pull off a quality power metal album, but alas, even the best show their weaknesses every once and awhile. The Final Requiem while an enjoyable album, is not something that is memorable in the grand scheme of things, or even in Axenstar's own catalog.

Killing Songs :
Final Requiem
Cody quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Axenstar that we have reviewed:
Axenstar - The Inquisition reviewed by Chris and quoted 82 / 100
Axenstar - Far From Heaven reviewed by Mike and quoted 78 / 100
Axenstar - Perpetual Twilight reviewed by Mike and quoted 75 / 100
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There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Jan 09, 2007 3:24 am
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