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Saccharine hard rock meets fluffy ballads - 20%

kluseba, December 18th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1989, CD, EMI

When Axxis released ''Kingdom of the Night II'' in 2014, an overly enthusiastic press text described the band as national legends and the new release as a glorious return to one of Germany's most important rock albums until today. This inspired me to check out this absolutely groundbreaking and historical masterpiece that is supposedly on one level with household names like Scorpions, Helloween and Gamma Ray.

Those guys who wrote this press release were either tripping on weed or are delusional megalomaniacs. Axxis' ''Kingdom of the Night'' is, even by the standards established back in the days, a second rate hard rock album that is best compared to groups like Bonfire. It doesn't feature any unique elements to stick out in any way and already sounded dated back then. The record offers a mixture of hard rock tracks with melodic guitar play, standard high-pitched vocals somewhere between Klaus Meine and Michael Kiske and overtly present keyboards recalling Scorpions' commercial efforts released years before this output. This release also features an unhealthy number of ballads or power ballads. It almost feels as if every second track were a smooth slow-paced ballad. The songs are short and focus on saccharine choruses as if the band were aiming for commercial success and massive radio play rather than musical integrity. The terribly soft production without any edges only adds to this impression. The worst thing about this release are the almost inaudible bass guitar and the terribly powerless drum work. The drummer either had a broken foot, was extremely sleepy during the recording sessions or simply had a lack of motivation. I can't explain his lackluster performance otherwise.

If you are a nostalgic fool and like a mixture of saccharine hard rock tunes copied from Scorpions and the likes and fluffy ballads for elderly people and rock discotheques in the key of Bonfire, then you might find this lame record focused on repetitive choruses remotely interesting. Let's be honest though and admit that the press text about this record and its follow-up is a lie. There is nothing legendary about this album or the band for that matter. This album is as exchangeable as it gets. My generous rating is based upon the undeniably catchy flower metal chorus of ''Living in a World'' and the slightly more rhythmic closer ''Kings Made of Steel'' that rather reminds me of a rockabilly track than of a true metal anthem as the title might suggest.