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Lillian AxeWaters Rising

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Sunday, July 1, 2007 @ 10:14 AM

Metro City Records/Screaming F

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“Good things come to those who wait”. Um, ok. “Patience is a virtue”. Yeah, whatever. I’m sure we have all heard those a billion times over the years, but those clichés were about to be put to the serious test for me as I anxiously awaited the arrival of the new CD by veteran rockers Lillian Axe.

To be quite truthful, as much as I anticipated it’s arrival I also had a sense of trepidation regarding this release because I did not know what to expect, mainly because of the departure of longtime vocalist Ron Taylor a couple of years back as the band were in the process of recording this album. That, and a few other factors contributed to this CD taking several years to complete. Once I received my review copy and started to give it a listen, another oft-used phrase immediately came to mind: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Steve had mentioned that during the course of making this record they experimented with different sounds but in the end came back to the sound that Lillian Axe made for themselves. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

From the opening notes of the title track, Waters Rising, to the ending chords of the instrumental 5, Steve Blaze and company have served notice that the ‘ole Bitch is back, rising up like a phoenix from the floodwaters of hurricane Katrina. Had I not already known that the band had enlisted a new vocalist, Louisiana native Derrick LeFevre, I would not have noticed the difference immediately. And Derrick certainly brings a deliberate passion and energy to the band and is more than an ample replacement. And truth be told, I was one of the detractors, one of the die hard fans who questioned Steve’s resolve to keep the band going after Ron’s departure. But as long as I have known Steve I have yet to see him make a bad decision musically so I was more than willing to give this CD a chance, and now I’m glad I did. While I’m not quite ready to say that this is their best release to date, it is definitely on par with their best offerings and, to me, the songs on this release sound just like the normal order of progression for the band from their last studio album, Psychoschizophrenia. Shame on me for doubting Steve’s judgment. For the diehard Axe fans this release isn’t ‘new’ in the sense that these songs have never been heard before because most of them have been available in some kind of demo or bootleg format for the past couple of years, but it IS new in the sense that now the fans can hear the actual finished, polished songs the way they were meant to be heard. Even though I consider myself a diehard fan, I had only heard 2 songs that are on this release, Thirst and Become a Monster, both of which had been previewed at some of their last shows before they went into recording mode. Fans of the band will not be disappointed with this release.

One of the things I have always liked about Lillian Axe, especially their most recent works, is the fact that there’s material that actually makes you THINK. Using real world examples and experiences, Blaze delivers not only great music but music and lyrics that stir your emotions. Songs like Thirst, which deals with man’s undying quest for knowledge and understanding and how our everyday obstacles keep us from achieving this goal, to Fear of Time, which deals with the fear of death and our own mortality and how we will continue to have this fear until we recognize that while our bodies may age and eventually disappear, our souls are infinite, and songs like The 2nd of May, a poignant tale of child disappearance and abduction. Quarantine deals with the germ phobia disorder, a condition that Steve admits he is afflicted by. This CD is full of tracks like these that elicit emotions from its’ listeners. The CD’s final track, 5, is a brilliant instrumental in which Steve used 80 different guitar tracks to achieve the final product. At first listen I am immediately reminded of another great instrumental track, Mr. Scary by Dokken axe maestro George Lynch. Trust me when I tell you that 5 gives that song a run for it’s money as one of the top rock instrumental songs. It isn’t just about sex, drugs and rock-n-roll anymore. The CD has 12 tracks and with only a couple that are ballad-type the rest delivers a very nice, progressive rock sound that Axe fans across the globe have come to know and love. This is a definite must have for all fans of melodic rock! And with a slew of tour dates showing up, it appears that the Axe has finally found a label that is willing to get behind them.

The bottom line here is this: Steve Blaze was and always will be the driving force behind Lillian Axe, no matter who comes and goes from the band and aside from being the principal songwriter for the band, he is the visionary of what he wants the band to be, and as long as he’s a part of any musical endeavor, you KNOW to expect nothing but the best!


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