Axe - Axeology 1979-2001

Axe - Axeology 1979-2001

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(2CD, Deadline Music, 2012)

No, it wasn’t all about AEROSMITH, KISS and MONTROSE in the 70s US Hard Rock school. Dozens of bands were also struggling to let their own pieces of music feed the hunger of the American nation for good time Rock ‘n’ Roll. The New Wave Of American Hard Rock, as we could label it, featured none other than diamond pioneers VAN HALEN and lots of other outfits like YESTERDAY & TODAY (shortened to Y&T in the 80s), LEGS DIAMOND, the Sammy Hagar solo works plus bands like AXE, who never made it quite big to be honest. Now, years later, this rich collection comes to remind us of some neat Hard Rock history and dignity in notes.

AXE were formed in Florida in the late 70s and enjoyed an MCA contract for its first duo of albums, “Axe” (1979) and “Living On The Edge” (1980) with a later pair of studio LPs in 1982 and 1983 marking the end of the band’s classic era due to a car accident costing the life of guitarist Michael Osborne with frontman Bobby Barth luckily escaping in a simple injury. In this brief period of time AXE showcased an original US Hard Rock style with flashing riffs, deep passionate vocals and some efficient melodic keyboards work. Needless to say, a tornado of gigs in this first period sent the band to perform across the whole US territory with bands from KISS, ZZ TOP and MÖTLEY CRÜE to JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, SCORPIONS and WHITESNAKE.

“Axeology” is a double-disc release featuring no less than 36(!) tracks from AXE’s entire career; the first two albums feature the original recordings while the couple of next ones see re-recorded versions which sadly omit some of the original magic. A set of numbers from the band’s post-80s days is also presented here, making this compilation a ‘must’ purchase if you want to let yourself familiarize with this notable American outfit for the first time. Bear in mind AXE never based its songwriting profile to party tunes; they, on the contrary, focused mainly on minor scale keyboard-backed emotional tunes with sharp guitars and simplified drum/bass lines. The songs have passion and emotion as the basis with no cheesy endings – rest assured – while the overall production and atmosphere denotes this is an American band being serious in its art-making.

I have the 1979-1983 discography of the band on vinyl and yet I caught myself singing to the choruses just like the first time I bough the LPs years ago; Bobby Barth (later went to join BLACKFOOT) was a great singer with solemn passionate vocals and Michael Osborne knew how to make a riff memorable without being a sellout. I do not know how many fans will be motivated by this release but I really hope even a handful will get to know AXE better and, thus, discover a hidden gem of the American pre-‘hair’ Metal Hard Rock scene.

P.S.: This release is packed in a deluxe 8-panel digipak with full liner notes written by Bobby Barth, original LP sleeve artwork and rare photos.

8/10



Links:

www.MySpace.Com/AxeLives


Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Life’s Just An Illusion
02. Hang On
03. Sympathize
04. Forever
05. Back On The Streets
06. Battles
07. Living On The Edge
08. Fantasy Of Love
09. First Time, Last Time
10. Carry On
11. Running The Gauntlet
12. For A Little While
13. Rock ‘N’ Roll Party In The Streets*
14. Steal Another Fantasy*
15. Jennifer*
16. Burn The City Down*
17. Now Or Never*
18. Holdin’ On*
19. Silent Soldiers*
20. Bad Sometimes*

CD 2:
01. Heat In The Streets*
02. Young Hearts*
03. All Through The Night*
04. Eagle Flies Alone*
05. Let The Music Come Back*
06. Masquerade*
07. Magic (In Our Eyes)
08. Heroes And Legends
09. Burn Me Once, Burn Me Twice
10. Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
11. Any Place On This Highway (Is Home)
12. The Crown
13. Good Times
14. Torturous Game
15. Foolish Deception
16. No Heroes (bonus)

* re-recorded


Lineup:

Bobby Barth - Guitars, Vocals
Mike Osbourne - Guitars
Mike Turpin - Bass
Wayne Haner - Bass
Mark Montague - Drums
Edgar Riley - Keyboards, Vocals
Teddy Mueller - Drums
Bob Harris - Keyboards, Vocals
Blake Eberhard - Bass
Christian Teele - Drums
Andy Parker - Drums
Danny Masters - Guitars