Axxis (1988-present): a Power Metal band from Dortmund, Germany.
he German hard rock quartet Axxis featured Walter Pietsh (guitar/vocals), Barnhard Weiss (guitar/vocals), Werner Kleinhaus (bass) and Richard Michalski (drums/vocals). Their style recalled the sounds of the 1970s with Boston, Europe, Scorpions and Black Sabbath to release Kingdoms Of The Night in 1989 to favorable reviews; the album would eventually become the best selling hard rock album ever in Germany. The band's original name was to be Anvil, and released several self-recorded demos under that name before realizing there was Canadian band already using that name who had released an album internationally, so Axxis became the new band name. In an interview with Battle Helm in 2015, Weiss said the new band name must be a small word to get bigger letters on the posters for promotion. They choose that name because, "the name AXIS sounds a bit like guitar axes but meaning wise".
Before that first album, however, another name change was in the works... more like a spelling change. When they recorded the demo Tears of the Trees in 1988, it was sent to 'EMI'. At first, the record company rejected it. The band persevered, and after sending the demo twice, "Axis" (with one 'X' as they were then known) were signed to 'EMI Electrola'. There was a problem, however, as 'EMI' had a subsidiary label named 'Axis' in Germany. Because of that, the band added another 'X' into the band name.
Adding keyboard player Harry Oellers and containing the hit single, Touch the Rainbow, Axxis II met similar success to its predecessor when it was released in 1990.
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The Big Thrill (1993) saw the band recording in America for the first time. They stayed in America for Matters of Survival (1995), an album that saw their upward trend in popular releases wane due to the musical change to more popular alternative from metal, a move desired by the producer of the time. The trend continued with Voodoo Vibes (1996) before Axxis quit 'EMI' for 'Massacre'.
Axxis then parted ways with Walter Pietsch; he became a well known producer in Germany.
Back to the Kingdom (2000) saw the band return to their melodic metal roots. Their "best of..." compilation Collection of Power and new album, Eyes of Darkness then followed in 2000 and 2001 respectively. Since then, there have been a few membership changes, including Rob Schomaker taking over bass in 2004, Dirk Brand assuming drums in 2012 and Stefan Weber picking up guitar in 2015 who had taken the role from Marco Wriedt and Guido Wehmeyer before that. Axxis has since released Time Machine (2004), Paradise in Flames (2006), Doom of Destiny (2007), Utopia (2009), the cover album reDISCOver(ed) (2012), Kingdom of the Night II (2014) and Retrolution (2017).
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