AXENSTAR Album Review: “Chapter VIII”

“Chapter VIII”
Album Review by Iron Mathew


Axenstar are a power metal band from Sweden formed in 2001, releasing eight albums to date – ‘Perpetual Twilight’ (2002), ‘Far From Heaven’ (2003), ‘The Inquisition’ (2005), ‘The Final Requiem’ (2006), ‘Aftermath’ (2011), ‘Where Dreams Are Forgotten’ (2014), ‘End Of All Hope’ (2019), and ‘Chapter VIII’ (2023).

During their twenty year plus career, power metallers Axenstar have shared a stage with the likes of Ascension, Falconer, and Nocturnal Rites, toured across Europe and the UK, and performed at metal festivals such as Motala Metal and Sweden Rock. The band have also gone through a number of line-up changes over the years – the current line-up consisting of (band) founder Magnus Winterwild (vocals, bass), Pelle Akerlind (drums), Jens Klovegard (guitar), and Joakim Jonsson (guitar). Axenstar are a power metal band in the same vein as such luminaries as HammerFall, Helloween, Sonata Arctica, and Stratovarius – the bands new album a ten song, forty four minute heavenly symphony of catchy melodies, thundering riffs and melodic solos, ‘Chapter VIII’ cruising into sight with the fast paced and instantly likeable ‘Heavenly Symphony’ – the band surging forth with incredible intent and purpose! As far as album openers go, ‘Heavenly Symphony’ is right up there with the best on offer, turning listeners ears on with a phenomenal display of pace and power!

Adopting the more mid tempo, majestic marching style of power metal, ‘Through The Fire And Brimstone’ is a foot stomper of the heaviest nature, the band battering everyone round the head with vicious intent – vicious intent that gives as much if not more, pleasure than a BDSM session with the local Madame! Across the albums opening two songs, Axenstar have set an immensely high level of head bang ability, a level that’s in absolutely no danger of dipping courtesy of the anthemic thunderstorm ‘The Great Deceiver’. Shuddering the ground as it strides on by, ‘The Great Deceiver’ is a bombastic barnstormer that’ll have lesser mortals racing to the doctor seeking pain relief medication! But for us metalheads, this kinda power metal is just what the doctor ordered – ‘Chapter VIII’ moving on with the mellow yet highly anticipative ‘Enchanted Lands’. Building an atmosphere of tension, ‘Enchanted Lands’ builds to a crescendo…

…and then BOOM – ‘The Flame Of Victory’ hits like a wrecking ball! The oomph is incredible, the force formidable, ‘The Flame Of Victory’ galloping on, firmly planting its “foot on the monitor” to adopt the classic and ever so iconic heavy metal pose! The intensity of the album so far has been immense, the Swedish four piece keeping every listener, fan and follower hooked with a fabulous display. A display that’s far from over – we’ve only just passed the half way mark! And for ‘No Surrender’, the band combine power metal with the traditional metal gallop to deliver the most head bang-able song heard so far – yes they’ve all been head bang-able, it’s just that ‘No Surrender’ has that little bit extra! Axenstar are relentless in their pursuit of power metal heaven, the band striding on with the highly melodic ‘Holy Land’. And in keeping with the feel of ‘Chapter VIII’, the band maintain the incredible galloping nature of the album, ‘Holy Land’ reminding me of a time long, long ago during the eighties when the likes of Saxon, Iron Maiden and Angel Witch created the glorious sound of traditional heavy metal – a sound that’s gone from strength to strength, getting better and better year after year! And with bands like Axenstar around – heavy metal (in all its guises) is never gonna die.

And returning the anthemic nature of metal, ‘Eye For An Eye’ is a building wobbling, foundation shaking slab of hard hitting foot stomping heavy metal! Since the album began, Axenstar have roamed all round the power metal genre, visiting every corner, nook and cranny, as well as dipping their toes across the border wall into traditional metal territory – ‘Chapter VIII’ an album of immense variation! And with just two songs remaining, variation remains front and centre, the band ascending to a hymn-like plane for ‘The War Within’, melding metal with hard rock to deliver one of those glorious genre hopping, boundary breaking songs. Both rockers and metalheads are gonna be attracted to ‘The War Within’ – ‘Chapter VIII’ coming to a close with the galloping ‘Life Eternal’. And yes I know I’ve used the term “galloping” quite a lot, and I make no apology for it – ‘Life Eternal’ showcasing the fastest gallop out of them all! The intensity since the album began has been top notch, never dropping for a second, Axenstar delivering an unstoppable roller coaster of pace, power and panache!

Overall, an all out power metal attack, Axenstar deliver an infectious, addictive, and highly head bang-able album.


Heavenly Symphony
Through The Fire And Brimstone
The Great Deceiver
Enchanted Lands
The Flame Of Victory
No Surrender
Holy Land
Eye For An Eye
The War Within
Life Eternal

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