I must say, I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this release, and if I’m honest my expectations were pretty low.  We get a lot of submissions and interest from artists who are older in age and/or trying to relive and revive the glory days of 70s or 80s metal.  Very often these projects, though well-intentioned, are not well-executed.

Darren was active in heavy metal in the 1980s with his classic metal band Axtion, though I confess I was unfamiliar with the band until recently, when we received this disc for review.  What’s interesting though is that Axtion (previous spelling) was a mainstream metal band (in the pop metal/party metal style), but over the years Darren came to Christ, making the current project a Christian metal release.  Interesting turn of events for sure!

So I pop the disc in the CD play and was pleasantly surprised at what I heard.  The riffs are great, and there are hooks aplenty.  Vocally, Lazzari sounds a little like a cross between Ozzy Osbourne and Vince Neil, yet without the extreme caricatures of either of those vocalists. Stylistically, we’re still in the pop metal/party metal subgenre—not quite the sleaze of glam metal, but with hooks and melodic tendencies, and lyrics that mostly deal with living the good life.  Several songs would fit the bill of what No Life Til Metal blogger and Ultimatum vocalist Scott Waters calls “heavy metal songs about heavy metal.”

What’s interesting on this note, is this is clearly a Christian/positive album, but the songs are not preachy or evangelistic, per se.  The overall attitude is rather one of gratitude, and experiencing the joys of this life when the Lord is in it.  It’s a refreshing take on Christian metal in some ways.

This is an independent release (no record label), and from what I can tell Darren did pretty much everything himself, which is an impressive feat—even more so, considering the quality of the release.  There are moments where the mix goes a little bit off, something that could be cleaned up a bit with a better production budget.  I’m hoping someone signs this project and re-releases the album with just slightly better sonics.  I know Darren is courting a few labels, so here’s hoping this can get some a reboot and some wider distribution.

Recommended for fans of Daniel Band, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Kix, Zion, Whitecross and Tempest.

3.5 / 5 stars

You can order the CD by sending a message through the band’s official Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/axtionofficial.

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