Time Machine

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Someone kindly forgot to tell the members of Axxis that everyone outside of Germany thinks they broke up immediately after releasing their debut, Kingdom of the Night, in 1989. How else to explain the band's insistence on recording many of their subsequent albums with the help of name producers on American soil, where no one was any the wiser. Released in 2004, Time Machine is -- get this -- the band's eighth studio album and, all kidding aside, perhaps the biggest point of concern would be that their sound has progressed hardly one bit since birth, with the occasional use of speed metal-derived double kick-drums as possibly the only exception. Having said all that, first single "Angel of Death" is palatable enough (although some may have been hoping for a cover of the Slayer classic, chances are Axxis have never heard it) and "The Demons Are Calling" features some clever keyboard work to go with its solid riffing and likable chorus. But predictable fare like "Lost in the Darkness" seems like a pale imitation of Teutonic heroes Helloween and, even worse, dated and sappy offerings such as "Wind in the Night (Shalom)" and "Wings of Freedom" sound like the lamest Helloween songs ever recorded -- or the heaviest, shortest Yes songs ever heard -- pick your poison. As for pop-metal oddities like "Dance in the Starlight" or "Gimme Your Blood," their chirpy choruses performed by '80s-approved gang vocals are simply laughable -- more Alphaville than the Scorpions, to be honest. No doubt, for the band's small but loyal following, Time Machine is another, welcome repeat screening of Axxis LPs past -- but for inhabitants of the new millennium, it's little more than a curiosity and an anachronism.

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