Axehammer…..metal fans will think „didn’t I hear that name sometimes, somewhere ?“. Maybe you could, cause the band was founded back in 1981 in Los Angeles. But there were only 2 demos coming out at that time. And after an EP in 1998 it took time til 2005 to publish their first full length album called „Windrider“. Now…seven years later Axehammer will offer us their second one „Marching On“ and the album info tells us that the band is still swimming in US metal waters like they started. Omen and other (semi-)heroes of the 80′s are told as comparisons an no other one as Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Omen, Flotsam& Jetsam) was engaged as producer….wow !
The march starts with a „Walk into the Fire“. Furious guitar sequence in the beginning. What follows is an uptempo banger with high vocals of Kleber. US metal roots as we love it. Mostly twin guitar attack and pumping drums punching it forward. The vocals are in tradition of sirens like James Rivera and even Rob Halford. Mixing high screams with aggressive parts. Cool opener for fans of traditional US orientated metal.
After that „The Dragons Fly“. Starting with turbulent guitars and epic vocal intro before the song becomes a midtempo one with clean vocals. Good bass play this time. Reminds me a bit to shorter Iron Maiden songs, not at last that Kleber performs with a kind of Dickinson vibe.
The band continues to „Swing the Steel“. Guitar intro that sounds like a light version of Metallica’s „Seek and Destroy“…again a faster song with more aggressive vocal parts. Great guitar solo in the middle and a refrain to raise the fists round up a traditional power metal song with strong arrangements of vocals and guitars.
Now to enter the „Midnight Train“. Real high vocals in Halford spheres. Also the song structure reminds a bit to some Judas Priest smashers. „Frewheel Burning“ for example. Another band that comes in mind is Crimson Glory here. Furious guitars and the drums speeds it up. Hell of a banger !!
„Fire Away“ starts with a great powerful guitar riff in old Saxon style. If you listen to Kleber you are again thinking that Crimson Glory is back (R.I.P. Midnight). Uptempo track with a good refrain. Galloping guitars are the base for a wonderful journey back in time that highlights in a longer guitar solo.
The „Demon Killer“ is on it’s way….Twin guitar leads and storytelling vocal lines underlined by heavy rhythm guitars forward this song to the evil refrain (enjoy the high scream at the end). Kleber’s vocals are too high to make you fear, but this is the dark side of Axehammer’s belief in metal.
The following „Cemetary“ points with epic guitar sequences, partly elegian. The ground theme is a little slower than before. Perhaps to underline the dark and doom factor of the lyrics. A heavy sound wall and for the first time with a chorus in the refrain. With 7 ½ minutes this song is furthermore the longest one of this album. Yes…this is a song that remembers to the most epic songs of the 80′s US metal scene. Great !!
The album ends with the „Flesh Machine“. Flesh, flesh, flesh….machine. A midtempo track in the end. The refrain is a little monotnous and so the highlight comes with the guitar solo in the middle.
After the last outputs of Exxplorer, Sleepy Hollow and more it’s a good thing that Pure Steel Records also continues this tradition with Axehammer too. It would be too easy to say that the band wants to take advantage to the upcoming new wave of US orientated metal. As told before, Axehammer was founded in 1981 and so they can be called as one of the creators of that legendary scene. And there is absolutely no doubt that they have the rights to continue their way, even if that way started 30 years ago.
This album is another good quality thing for fans of traditional heavy/power metal, Judas Priest, Crimson Glory, Cage, Omen and so on. A band with enough knowledge in playing and experience in songwriting.
Points: 8 / 10
Review by Kerbinator