Album Reviews

Lillian Axe – XI:The Days Before Tomorrow Review

 

Released by: CME Records

Release Date: January 27th, 2012

Genre: Hard Rock

Links: http://www.lillianaxe.com/home.htm

 

Line Up:

Brian Jones: vocals

Steve Blaze: lead guitar,

keyboards & vocals

Sam Poitevent: guitar & vocals

Eric Morris: bass

Ken Koudelka: drums

 

Tracklist:

1.Babylon

2.Death Comes Tomorrow

3.Gather Up The Snow

4.The Great Divide

5.Take The Bullet

6.Blow Your Head

7.Caged In

8.Soul Disease

9.Lava On My Tongue

10.My Apologies

 

Lillian Axe are a band that some fans may be completely on the fence with at this point in time, especially if you consider they’re early catalog of material from the 80’s where they really made their mark initially. Now the thing to remember here is that no matter how much you enjoyed albums like “Psychoschizophrenia” and Love + War” then you can forget about that sound probably being reborn or revisited again from the band. It was gone in this new reincarnation of their sound. Some may not like it, but such is the nature of the beast. The one thing that I thought made Axe different from other bands was the songwriting in their music, it always had a deeper message between the lines and some people I think never quite fully appreciated that particular quality of the group.

The band has no doubt been through some trouble waters most notably getting some serious criticism from the genre an fans as mentioned above, but the big instability came from the lack of a stable vocalist. If you remember on their last album the singer Derek LeFevre was part of the band and recorded the record “Deep Red Shadows” but quickly after completion of that record plunged towards the exit road; and as quickly as his replacement came in the likes of former Metal Church vocalist Ronny Munroe; he was gone too, stating he couldn’t dedicate the time desired to be in Lillian Axe between his other projects so he chose the high road. Man the band just seemed that they just couldn’t catch a darn break, well despite the odds Axe has stayed around and kept going with what it looks like a permanent vocalist this time around in Brian Jones. I don’t know much about this guy but his vocals seem to fit more of the more more progressive elements the band is now using in their music, even though his voice won’t shatter any windows at least the group has a guy who hopefully can stick around a little longer and bring some stability to the forefront.

The new album was recorded in Covington, Lousiana and was produced by by Steve Blaze and mixed by platinum producer, Sylvia Massy (Tool, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sevendust, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty and Prince). Blaze has been there since early days and still is the thinking pot behind the the band as the bulk of the writing comes from his head and here he still follows that path of dealing with real life issues and social problems, as the press release puts it “, deals with heavy issues of the outcasts, the innocent, the hopeless and the true believers”.

The music in parts can be bloody intriguing for instance the opening riff off the opener “Babylon” is keen as a razor blade, the rest of the song is alright but the tight guitar solo by Blaze maintains it mildly interesting somehow. The more driving tune of “The Great Divide” accentuates nicely to fit Jones style of singing, a more dramatic atonement for instance displays in full pledge on this track and the guitar work is killer indeed. The band’s first single comes via the  up tempo rocker “Caged In” which sounds like a modern rocker in the style of recent modern hard rock bands like Velvet Revolver, an okay song with a nice guitar solo but that’s it. Another churner tune kicks the chair in the song “Lava On My Tongue” a nice hard rock edge dominates the main riff and the drums play a nice role in this kick ass tune, I can correlate this song to some of their old school sound from earlier records which fans will definitely enjoy, and the writing is intricate as it’s challenging.

Well I can honestly say this is the a step in the right direction for the band finally, let’s cut them some slack okay? There’s nothing wrong with reinventing themselves, bands do it all the time and  shouldn’t get drowned to the pit because of it. The new singer Jones won’t turn a bunch of heads but he does job nicely and like I said fits the scope of the band’s style more then the previous singers. Steve Blaze is a guy I have a lot of respect forsimply because he could of just taken the high road and close down shop on Lillian Axe but, he still kept trucking spending 7 months with this line up and recording this new record, and you know what? It’s a good one and one the best and most complete albums they have ever made. Axe was always a band that was never given it’s due and often misunderstood, at least now they can rest their heads on the fact they are still alive and kicking in 2012 and sounding more like a complete unit then they have in the past.

 

Written by Denys

Ratings    Denys    8/10

 

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