AXEWITCH – The Last of a Dying Breed: 40 Years in Metal (2023)

EYES (Jeff Scott Soto) - 24U [2-CD Set] Out Of Print - full

AXEWITCH were one of the earliest acts of what became known in Sweden as FWOSHM (First Wave of Swedish Heavy Metal) were bands like Torch, 220 Volt, Ice Age, Destiny, and of course Europe. AXEWITCH formed in 1981 and were very successful releasing three albums until broke up in 1987, but reunited in 2007 and since then were playing live and working in new music, which resulted in the solid comeback album ”Out Of The Ashes Into The Fire” (2021).
AXEWITCH didn’t wish to ‘update’ their sound, nor write songs of ‘modernized metal’, so decided to re-record the 10 best tracks from the band’s first 3 releases: “Pray for Metal EP” (1982), “The Lord of Flies” (1983), and “Visions of the Past” (1984) to commemorate AXEWITCH’s 40 years of existence.
The Last of a Dying Breed: 40 Years in Metal” comprises 40 minutes (as used to be) of pure 80s traditional metal / hard rock, with all the magic from the era both in songwriting style & sound, all very well performed and produced.
Despite the ‘heavy’ album cover, the band’s name and the era they formed, AXEWITCH’s music is much more hard rock than metal, and when they push the pedal, they deliver a very melodic, polished sound in the typical Swedish clean delivery. As example, their “The Lord of Flies” LP had not side A & B, but “Side Hard”, and the flip ”Side Heavier”.
This is wonderful stuff like a cross between 220 Volt, early Pretty Maids, Europe and the first Scorpions, Mama’s Boys, Praying Mantis, etc.

AXEWITCH’s music put emphasis on the right riff / hook combinations, align them with the best vocal melodies and harmonies, and drive this material quickly into your brain. The updated versions of these cult-classic tracks prove that these Swedes deserve accolades back then for their headbanging songs, even if they didn’t necessarily rise to the level of other European acts during that period.

“The Last of a Dying Breed: 40 Years in Metal” is a perfect example that older gentlemen can still rock, using the better recording technology of today to capture these songs and relive focused material with bluesy power and smooth melodies, harmonies, and hooks.
Younger folks probably will find the band too old-school or old-fashioned for their tastes. But don’t discount tried and true principles when executed this well, as AXEWITCH hopefully can churn out another album or two like this down the line.
Highly Recommended


01 – Intro
02 – The Lord Of The Flies
03 – Axe Victim
04 – Heavy Revolution
05 – Death Angel
06 – Seven Angels
07 – Stand Up
08 – High Power
09 – Visions Of The Past
10 – Sinner

Anders Wallentoft – vocals, keyboards
Magnus Jarl – guitars
Mikael A Deild – guitars
Björn Hernborg – bass, vocals
Mats Johanson – drums



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