Returning with their umpteenth studio album, 20-something German power metal brigade Axxis delve right back into the same vat of predictable, epic rock they’ve been churning forever. Incredibly upbeat and dominant despite the overuse of operatics and keyboards—they still sound stuck somewhere between Diary Of A Madman and The Neverending Story soundtrack—Utopia is an indelibly catchy affair even if it refuses to advance the state of metal. Coupling searing, shit-hot solos with vocalist Bernhard Weiß’s mid-range wail, the overall atmosphere here has slightly more balls to it than, say, Whitesnake. However, with virtually every song adhering to the same bouncing pace, overwrought emotional angles and endless dramatics, it’s about as cool. To die-hards, Utopia will rock for its AC/DC-ish refusal to change. To the rest, unless you’re able to shut off your testosterone for the likes of Dragonfarce or Iced Mirth, well, you know what not to do: bother.