AXiS – Electric Peace
Release Date: 15th June 2023
A lot can be garnered from a name and when Serbian / Romanian rockers AXiS released their second album, and first in five years, Electric Peace, there was more than a small hint in the name of the album about how it might sound. The trio are moving into their second decade as a group, marking that occasion with an album full of classic rock-fueled tunes saddled with some fuzziness and more than a few nods to the pioneers of the genre that they so obviously love.
Like many of the classic greats, your Cream’s & Led Zep’s, through to the more modern bands carrying the genre forward, your Alter Bridge’s and your Greta Van Fleet’s, AXiS have filled an album with nine tracks that average around five and a half minutes long per track. Not a small undertaking when you consider the attention span of modern music audiences. What they have done very well though is keep the album moving forward by keeping the variation coming, not just between tracks but on each individual track too.
You have tracks like the album opener ‘Dazzling Woman’ where the feeling of psychedelic rock comes face to face with Lemmy-esque vocals, though with a bit less of that signature raspiness that came with that particular legend’s vocals. Not even ten minutes into the album the first track that could be arguably be called a ballad makes an appearance in the form of the more than six-and-a-half-minute romp through guitar-based goodness that is ‘Somewhere in Time and Space’. Bringing a change of pace by slowing everything down while still putting out some exemplary guitar playing backed up by keys and those vocals again is a good way to spend 400 seconds of your life.
The biggest track on the album though is the single ‘Firewater’. It brings all of that energy back in a song that feels straight out of the Led Zep playbook musically and vocally, without feeling like a copy-and-paste job that certain other modern rock bands have felt. Taking a break for the first really big solo section of the album works perfectly, especially when you can just tell live how huge it’s going to be when the chorus screams back in at the end of it. Bands often don’t know what is going to work best live before it’s played, but ‘Firewater’ is going to go off when it gets dropped in their sets.
Throughout the rest of the album there’s a bit more funkiness brought out in the almost chaotic ‘Until The Night Ends’, the acoustically driven, southern rock-styled ‘Otherside’ that makes the most of some synthy backing as well as the closing track, ‘Fifth Season’, that brings elements of all of its preceding tracks together to tie everything up in with a nice neat bow.
Electric Peace may not be everyone’s idea of where modern music is going, those nods to the past are more of an all-encompassing hug accompanied by a well-structured essay at this point. What it does though, it does it incredibly well. The musicianship on show is at the top of its game, the vocals are powerful and moving in equal measure when required. Overall, Electric Peace feels like one of those comfort albums to listen to. The one you sit down with a nice drink, lob on some top quality headphones, pour a nice glass of something and just disappear into for 45 minutes to forget about life.