Axe Crazy is a traditional heavy metal/speed metal group that hails from Poland (and is named after one of the best NWOBHM songs ever, from the excellent band Jaguar). “Ride On The Night” is their first full-length album, and is highly likely to appeal to fans of bands like Skull Fist, Enforcer, and Axxion. Despite the sub-2 minute intro being a galloping affair that worships Iron Maiden, most of this record is a high-speed offering with tons of energy and enthusiasm. The guitar playing is certainly flashy, though it doesn’t offer quite the same level of musicianship as many of the aforementioned newer bands. Nevertheless, there is a lot of shredding throughout “Ride On The Night”, even if the harmonized sections don’t feel quite as tight.
The primary barrier for most listeners will be Michael Skotnicki’s vocals. He’s a decent singer, and can offer an impressive high-pitched wail, but his accent is fairly thick. This isn’t a problem at all, but it is an acquired taste, and will likely take a few listens to appreciate. In the speedier tracks, he fits in well, but it is difficult for him to carry a more vocally driven song. Fortunately, Axe Crazy tends to use a lot of speed. Some of these songs even delve into the power metal realm at times with their use of melody. “Guardians of the Light”, for example, has some great lead guitar lines underneath Skotnicki’s singing at certain parts of the song, and the result is a track that instantly stands out.
Upon first glance at the track titles, the immediate standouts would be “Astral Tales Part 1 (Lost In Space)” and “Astral Tales Part 2 (Star Force)”. To the band’s credit, they’re both very enjoyable songs that do have a slight otherworldly feel to them, and the unique lyrical theme sets them apart from many of their peers. But the true standout is “Magic Power”, which is an atmospheric rocker driven by plenty of melodic leads. The track opens with an excellent guitar solo atop some cleaner playing that sets the stage for the epic melodies that dominate the song.
“Ride On The Night” is not a record for those in need of innovation, but it certainly can’t be accused of copying one particular band (especially not the one Axe Crazy is named after). There are more than a few instances where the band does something just a bit different, and even if this album doesn’t quite compete with the bands at the forefront of traditional heavy metal, it is still a very competent and enjoyable release. The constant charging pace results in an electric record that never once gets boring. For this reason alone, “Ride On The Night” is a worthy purchase!
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"Guardians Of The Light"
"Astral Tales Part 1 (Lost In Space"
3.9/5 or 78%.
Written by Scott