Well, this new release is certainly going to make a lot of heavy metal fans around the world very happy indeed! Axewitch is a Swedish hard rock band which formed in 1981 in Linköping, Sweden and was active until 1987 before disbanding only to reform in 2007. The band was formed by Anders Wallentoft (vocals) and Magnus Jarl (guitar) and they quickly brought in Tommy Brage (bass guitar) and the brothers Mikael Johansson (guitar) and Mats Johansson (drums). The band released three albums in The Lord Of Flies (1983), Visions Of The Past (1984) and Hooked On High Heels (1985) but all was not well with personnel leaving and others coming in for brief stints only and it ultimately imploded in 1987 leaving behind a reasonable legacy of three very good Scandinavian hard rock albums.The band then reformed in 2007 to play a couple of festivals in their home town with the band having a familiar look with Wallentoft, Jarl and both Johansson brothers (although by this time Mikael was going by the name of A’delid) and a new bassist in Lasse Fallman. They began work on their new album in 2008 but Fallman left in 2012 to be replaced by Björn Hernborg and still the work on the new album continued.
Now, some 36 years after the last album and, incredibly, 21 years since they began work on it, the new album is finally here, wow, that is some gestation period! If you know the band of old then you will definitely enjoy the new album as it carries on the band’s core sound almost seamlessly but modern studio techniques and better production standards have definitely given the band a sharper and clearer edge. Europe remains the standard by which any Swedish band is measured and Axewitch definitely follows the Europe framework but they also have a touch of Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy about them plus a touch of mid period Judas Priest.
Out Of The Shadows Into The Fire is an old school metal album and is definitely in the NWOTHM movement with thunderous drums and shattering bass over which are huge riffs and soaring lead breaks with Anders Wallentoft laying down some hard hitting and aggressive vocals. They also thrown in a couple of great bonus tracks with re-recorded versions of Axewitch and Nightmare which both originally featured on the band’s 1982 EP, Pray For Metal. It’s taken a long time to get here but the new album is a more than worthy addition to the Axewitch name and is their most exciting and vibrant album to date. I’m certain that they will be added to plenty of festivals when we get back to live music and this fresh, enticing and re-invented rock band of old will surely thrill those fortunate enough to see and hear this new and most modern version. A most welcome return indeed.
Out Of The Ashes Into The Fire track list
- The Pusher (4:03)
- In Pitch Black Darkness (5:32)
- Dues To Pay (5:32)
- Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (4:29)
- Boogie Of Death (4:51)
- Losing You (4:56)
- Going Down (5:30)
- The Healer (5:10)
- Lie To Me (4:50)
- Violator (4:23)
- Nightmare (Bonus track) (5:02)
- Axewitch (Bonus track) (3:20)