"The Legend and the Truth" (AFM Records; 2006)

Reviewed by Edwin Van Hoof


Dezperadoz's Axel Kraft made his name in Germany performing with Onkel Tom’s (Angelripper) touring band. Kraft brought some serious madness to the music scene with Dezperadoz and its country-injected, hard raging melodic rock. With this second release, Kraft proves to be a talented singer/songwriter as well of being a twisted personality. Who else would have come up with a country/metal concept CD built around the legendary Wyatt Earp?

”The Legend and the Truth” is perhaps one of the most amazing releases of Spring 2006. Not only because of the craftsmanship presented, but because of the stubborn and un-metallic approach of the project.

The story is tightly woven into the music (which varies dramatically throughout the CD) in order to paint a perfect picture of what might have happened 125 years ago in the wild ... make that very wild ... west. The music is thematic, melodic hard rock/metal and sets a perfect mood for the music and storyboard of the Wyatt Earp legend. 

The opening title track, which is a dense intro in the vein of that of the mighty Ennio Morricone, instantly creates the setting to take off from. Heavy machine gun-like guitar wails in “Dust of History” and the full frontal rock attack in the following “First Blood” immediately puts you up front in their theatre. The guitars are loud and the vocals heavy with a rolling double bass underneath. Just picture classic 80s Tesla on acid, and you pretty much have an idea of the music. 

“Deadman Walkin” is a warm and sweaty song, encouraging radio airplay while “Rawhide” is a heavy metal pumped interpretation of the evergreen classic, blending in easily with the story. From there we move through farm fiddling swampy sounds in “March to Destiny,” dark and moaning rockers like “OK Corral” with electrical and acoustic guitars in close harmony, and “Earp’s Vendetta" with fiery guitars all over. 

A highlight is the magnificent and well arranged “Friends till the End” with tension building during the intro. Western guitars and heavy riffs take us further into the story that ends with some haunting moments in “Hellbilly Square” and “Alex,” both with haunting echoes from the past and sound effects to power up toward the end. 

All this power and the surprisingly sophisticated story is held together by returning interludes like “Shootout” and “Tombstone,” and the themes are embedded in the music as well. The legend is brought to life in this Wild West Metal Shootout.

This concept album is a ride through history and revives a legend in so bright a manner that story and music actually do justice to the legacy and legend of Wyatt Earp ... although admittedly in a different setting than most have probably expected. Alex Kraft explores the boundaries of metal and country music with this concept CD. 

Dezperadoz: Alex Kraft – vocals, guitars; Dennis Ward – guitars; Alex Weigand– bass; Sascha Tilger - drums. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
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