Kingdom of the Night

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In the 1980s, Germany was a hotbed of heavy metal and hard rock action -- it was Germany that gave fans the Scorpions, Accept, and Warlock. Germany was also the home of Axxis, who was never as big as the Scorpions or Accept but made some decent contributions to the metal/hard rock field. Released in 1990, Kingdom of the Night essentially falls into the fantasy metal category. Axxis (who shouldn't be confused with the late-'70s arena rock band Axis) had a certain amount of pop-metal gloss, and yet, it wasn't a Sunset Strip hair band à la Poison or D'Molls (although its members did have long, carefully styled hair). Nor did it get into thrash or speed metal; Axxis was never as heavy as Metallica, Testament, or Motörhead. This album's lyrics are generally fantasy-oriented, and headbangers who get into larger-than-life fantasy lyrics should have no problem appreciating melodic tracks like "Kings Made of Steel" and "The Moon." For the teenagers and young adults who acquired Kingdom of the Night back in 1990, this type of metal and hard rock was all about escape -- escaping into fantasy and temporarily getting away from the boring routines of everyday life. The lyrics and the big, glossy sound that goes with them aren't about reality; they're about getting away from it. In 1990, Axxis fans had no idea how dated this CD would sound two and three years later; when alternative rock took over in 1992 and 1993 (thanks to the success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam), 1980s bands like Axxis suddenly sounded dated. But dated isn't necessarily a bad thing if one admires the music of a particular era; it can actually be a plus. And while Kingdom of the Night isn't among 1990's essential metal/hard rock releases, it is generally decent and respectable.

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