Ax-slinger Gary Hoey has had a busy year with numerous projects and extensive touring. Most recently, he wrapped up his latest album UTOPIA, which released on his own label Wazoo Music Group.
While Hoey is known for his signature versions of covers (Hocus Pocus, Lowrider, Misirlou, etc.) this album features 12 all new, all original songs. UTOPIA features Hoey’s widely recognized guitar skills, while showcasing his growth as a singer and songwriter. “Utopia’s been a long time coming,” explains Hoey. “Utopia took over 2 years to make because I wanted time to develop my songs on tour and then bring that to the studio. That is why I started my indie label, Wazoo Music Group, so I could have that creative control over my music and be able to give it to my fans on my own terms.”
Hoey has toured North America throughout the year opening shows for Jeff Beck, Styx, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Bret Michaels. Additionally, he was Camp Counselor at Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp. That session was filmed and produced by Mark Burnett for a reality TV series that is currently airing on VH1 Classic.
With a collection of 17 albums and five top 20 Billboard hits, it’s clear to see why Gary Hoey is listed in the top 100 greatest guitar players of all time. Whether Hoey plays rock, blues, surf or Christmas, Hoey’s command of each style makes his live show one of the most exciting on the circuit today.
UTOPIA is a must have for your collection, available now through www.garyhoey.com , iTunes and Amazon.com.
AXXIS “UTOPIA” IS POWER METAL THEATER AT IT’S FINEST!
AXXIS, the Dortmund, Germany, Heavy Metal band has made quite an impression on me over the years… one being of the upmost Metal respect that I have for them. Going on 21 years in the Heavy Music business, the latest AXXIS release – Utopia, (released on October 6, 2009), is nothing short of dramatic and powerful Heavy Metal. All 11 songs are an all encompassing ride into the stratosphere of Power Metal enlightenment. Structurally solid are the songs on this album, the richness and power of the keyboards are what makes this album sound like I am actually on a journey to Utopia itself. Combine the song writing and semi-progressiveness of Utopia with the nod to old school Heavy Metal and what comes forth is not your standard Power Metal album… or band.
If I am to sum up Utopia with just one word, theatrical would be justified. This is not a word to shy away from on the Power Metal stage, it actually is what should be strived for and Axxis does it so well. Sarah Wanna Die and My Father’s Eyes are fortified with stirring emotion both musically and vocally, very moving are these songs lyrically. Axxis original Bernhard Weiss on lead vocals creates the emotional mood and feelings of this Utopia album, his vocals are of an almost sacred exaltation, with the chorus and keyboards only elevating what’s already powerfully high.
Heavy Rain is my favorite song on Utopia, one that could be construed as a soundtrack for self empowerment into reasoning the darkest of days. Axxis mainstay Harry Oellers on keyboards doesn’t just make background atmospherics, the importance of his musicianship goes beyond the norm on Utopia. His keyboards are the glue that pieces Utopia together, bridging the highs and lows of each songs tempo, while simultaneously lending as a chorus in it’s own musical right.
Lest not forget, that Utopia does Rock heavy, with Marco Wriedt on guitar reminding me of that, with each solid lead, riff and solo. A blend of old school Speed Metal and Traditional Heavy Metal guitar is what Marco brings, exhibiting some classical brilliance along the way. Rob Schomaker on bass and Alex Landenburg on drums add the thunderous pulse to what Axxis has created on Utopia, they are just as integral to these songs overall excellence.
At the end of my Metal day, I will tell anyone that Axxis is an electrifying and theatrical Power Metal Band, Utopia is an album that exhibits this, from beginning to end. Axxis just exercises more emotion within the lyrics and structures of their songs, which is a unique aspect to their brand of Power Metal. Axxis utilizes layering within their music not just because they can, it’s done with reason and with grandiose style that sets them apart. For a powerful, heavy and theatrical journey, get a hold of Utopia and enjoy. Axxis fans have already been on this Utopian, Power Metal trip and are getting ready to board again!
Utopia was released on AFM Records & EMI Capitol.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Journey To Utopia
3. Last Man On Earth
4. Fass Mich An
5. Sarah Wanna Die
6. My Fathers’ Eyes
7. The Monsters Crawl
8. Eyes Of A Child
9. Heavy Rain
10. For You I Will Die
Bernhard Weiss – vocals
Harry Oellers – keyboards
Marco Wriedt – guitar
Rob Schomaker – bass
Alex Landenburg – drums