Ok. Let’s start off with this. The band Lillian Axe that made killer melodic hard rock records like Love + War, Poetic Justice and Psychoschizophrenia is no more. The band that reunited the name, yes just the name as songwriter / guitar player / founder Stevie Blaze is the only remaining original member, is a way harder and darker beast today.
The band’s two albums after the reunion, Waters Rising and Sad Day On Planet Earth are both in that vein and it takes just one listen to this album to realize that this is the path they will keep on walking on for the rest of their career. Probably! Also, a new singer has been recruited in Brian Jones (with a name like that, I wouldn’t go swimming drunk ever…) replacing Ronny Munroe, who for a short while replaced the reunion’s first singer Derrick LeFevre who replaced original singer Ron Young. Jones is, in my book, the best singer they have had since Young, being a bit more melodic than LeFevre and again, Lillian Axe has released a very good album. However I must say that I hold both their reunion albums a bit higher than this one.
Opener ”Babylon” is great, some melodies sound a lot like Sixx A.M. and I think this would be a great single. ”Death Comes Tomorrow” and ”The Great Divide” are both killers. Long, epic, heavy and dark songs that borders to ballads with classic Lillian Axe melodies. Wonderful. ”Caged In”, however is fast and punky in a metal way and that suits them badly. ”Soul Disease” goes back to the classic Lillian Axe sound a bit, catchy but dark. Great song. ”Lava On My Tounge” is a bit of a surprise. Heavy and progressive with traces of Savatage.
My favourite on here is ”My Apologies”. They have recorded a great ballad, but this doesn’t aim for radio, it’s just beautiful and moving. As an European bonus track they give us ”Angels Among Us”, an instrumental that even though quite beautiful, it belongs in the lost and found category. But what is missing here isn’t in the song writing department. Lillian Axe has always had a distinctive own style and sound, no matter if you go back to their melodic rock era of the 80’s or the reunion and quite frankly, that is missing here on too many of the tracks. Too bad because it makes them sound a bit ordinary. But still, they have recorded a very good album and since they have never released a bad album before, I was totally sure that they wouldn’t with this either. Or with albums to come.
If you’re a Lillian Axe fan this is an album you could buy without any worries at all.
Jon Wilmenius (7/10)
02. Death Comes Tomorrow
03. Gather Up The Snow
04. The Great Divide
05. Take The Bullet
06. Bow Your Head
07. Caged In
08. Soul Disease
09. Lava On My Tongue
10. My Apologies
11. Angels Among Us (European bonus track)