"An Axe To Grind"

By Dr. Abner Mality

I'm going nuts trying to figure out who Power Theory singer Dave Santini sounds exactly like. His voice is a DEAD ringer for some power metal icon of old, but I'm absolutely screwed if I can think of who it is! ARGH!!! This is gonna keep me up until I figure it out!

At any rate, my opinion of "An Axe To Grind" is going to stay the same: this is one great slab of bold and gutsy classic metal.  The awesome opener "Edge of Knives" kind of sounds like Judas Priest's "Solar Angels" with its opening chords and then it really picks up speed and rips. The aforementioned Mr. Santini has a gravelly voice like a mixture of Savatage's Jon Oliva and Metal Church's David Wayne. Goddamn, I still can't place who he REALLY reminds me of! Forgetting that, the rest of the album can best be described as very robust classic metal combining the best aspects of Priest, Metal Church and Omen. On a couple of cuts like "Pure Steel" and the title track, the band kind of drags on too long and could have used some pruning. But on the whole, the sound is excellent, particularly the very strong basswork which is groovy and audible throughout.

"A Fist In the Face of God" is straightforward semi-thrash with a tons of balls, while "The Seer" and "Colossus" have a bit more of an epic tone. Last cut "The Hammer Strikes" has more of a European feel to it, especially on the singalong chorus, but not to the extent that there are keyboards and fluff on it. The album holds up well to repeated listens and I have the feeling that we are dealing with a strong new contestant in the "pure metal" sweepstakes.