Review by Allan on June 12, 2002.
It is always nice to come across something that there is less of in the metal scene, even if it isn’t completely unique and creative. Axamenta are a fantasy-based metal band that while somewhat derivative, really aren’t too bad. “Codex Barathri” is a good try, but only barely manages to stay afloat amongst today’s bands.
The band isn’t a complete letdown. In fact, they have quite a bit going for them. One of the strongest things they have to them is that they have a good melodic edge. Usually the guitars are doing some rhythm-based work, and the keyboards handle the leads. I’ll tell you right now, if you aren’t a fan of keyboard influenced metal, get out! But, if you find yourself being able to handle them on some level, you’ll be glad to know that the music is fairly even in terms of instrumentation. They don’t just pile symphonic elements on top of the music so that the rest of the instruments aren’t buried beneath the keyboards. The band does a nice job of moving into more epic proportions during their generally mid-paced tempo music. I quite enjoyed the piano itself in different parts instead of the keys. This added a completely new flavor to the songs. Another facet that improves the music is that the songs never dwell on the same section as to put the listener to sleep. The sections vary enough to keep interesting. Axamenta really possess some strong elements inside their song writing, but that doesn’t always mean the content is excellent.
Every band has its downs though. I can’t help but find Axamenta somewhat predictable on a level. You seem to realize what is coming next, and the next song or passage is never a surprise. Another gripe of mine is that the vocals are very boring and monotonous. For this type of music, the band could easily bring in some nice clean vocals. To no surprise, they opted to use black metal shrieks with the occasional death grunt. Pathetic I say. It just doesn’t really do the music any justice. You might as well not even have vocals with this music. Another down side to “Codex Barathri” is that half way through it just becomes kind of boring. You never feel like it’s taking you anywhere. At the end of the day it just comes down to the fact that Axamenta don’t have that intangible ‘something’ that makes them an outfit that will be listened to more than occasionally.
Bottom Line: I see potential in this band, but for now “Codex Barathri” serves as a barely passable album in today’s scene. It’s got some excellent moments in it and has the ability to be an album that some people could love. Not for me though. I await the bands next album to see in what ways they have improved.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 4.6 out of 10