Italian heavy metallers, Axevyper, have recently released their sophomore album Metal Crossfire. From the looks of the cover, which looks like something a bored teenager would draw in class, you can see that these guys are just a cheesy retro band. Let’s not judge the book by its cover, ‘kay?
The album starts off with a near 3 minute instrumental, called “Stygianuclear War.”It’s not exactly something you would expect to kick off an album with. I think it should have been shortened, but I guess that’s small attention spans for you. However, the track does have a nice riff that builds up the energy for the next song and once that kicks in it’s pretty much a headbanging-fest. The album is chock full of speedy Maiden-esque riffs and this high voice that reminds me of Angel Witch on cocaine.
The power really starts to kick in towards the middle of the album beginning with “Agents of Chaos.” It’s a full-speed ahead, no holds-barred song. And the next tracks like “On the Wings of Glory” and “Victims of Tomorrow” are quite epic songs with catchy choruses and good songwriting. “Victims” is on the long side, just spanning over 8 minutes on the clock, but it’s not so drawn out as you would think. It starts off as a soft “ballad” and then in it socks you in the jaw, the energy really carries you through the song. This song really showcases the band, the vocals are superb, and the guitars are just fantastic.
Overall, this is a pretty solid album. It’s definitely true to its heavy metal roots. It’s a great blend between the early 80s NWOBHM sound and 90s power/speed metal. The album does tend to have its moments where it either runs together or leaves you wanting to skip a track, but the majority of it is great material. It may not add anything too fresh to the table, but if you just want an old-school sound without the complete Maiden rip off then go find this album.