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Lillian Axe: XI: The Days Before Tomorrow

To cut a long story short, Melodic Rock band Lillian Axe created some increasingly intricate, if often misunderstood Commercial Rock from 1988 to 1993, causing them to be lazily and wrongly grouped in with the "Hair Metal" movement. As a consequence this led to the Axe's Grunge aided demise, although their music had far more bite, intelligence and class than most of those cleansed by Kurt and his gloomy chums. A rather dull collection of demos were released in 1999, but for all intents and purposes it looked as though the end of the road had been reached for Lillian Axe. Then in 2002 a rather cunningly titled Live 2002 celebrated a welcome if brief reunion, before the band's mainman, guitarist and songwriter Steve Blaze resurrected the band name with a revised line up. Gone was the enigmatic and inspirational voice of Ron Taylor and while his replacement Derek LeFevre sounded uncannily like his predecessor, in truth the spark that separated this band from their peers was disappointingly elusive through 2007's Waters Rising, '09's Sad Day On Planet Earth and Deep Red Shadows from 2010, after which LeFevre departed. A brief match-up with one time Metal Church singer Ronny Munroe seemed like the perfect tonic, but after only four month's with Blaze, he too moved on and for the band's 11th album XI: The Days Before Tomorrow, it is singer Brian C Jones who now stands affront Lillian Axe.

After all that upheaval it would have been understandable if the Axe were decidedly under par for this effort, however I'm delighted to say that the opposite is actually true, with The Days Before Tomorrow almost recapturing the early verve, individuality and class that set Lillian Axe out as real unsung heroes of the Melodic Rock scene. Right from the off Blaze is on fire with a stinging guitar burst making way for a spiralling motif that has all the hallmarks of classic Lillian and while new boy Jones doesn't have quite the same memorable voice of Ron Taylor, or Ronny Munroe for that matter, he does offer a slightly more contemporary outlook than the band's previous singers. That said, the double tracking of some of the vocals, the deadpan delivery and effects which have been Axe trademarks are still in evidence, making this album a fresh take on the blueprint that made this band so invigorating in the first place. "Gather The Snow" adds clever tempo changes to the mix and with drummer Ken Koudelka adding machine gun sharp blasts of snare to the jagged guitar work, this really is Lillian Axe close to their best. Dip into this album at almost any point and you'll be sure to find a sharp guitar attack whether it comes in the shape of the strident "Soul Disease", the insistent and tightly arranged "Lava On My Tongue", (which could easily have come from the band's classic Psychoschizophrenia album), or the powerful slow number "The Great Divide".

XI: The Days Before Tomorrow is a real return to form from a band that have never quite delivered on their long held promise and while not quite up to the standard of their early work, is a massive step back in the right direction.

Track Listing
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

Added: February 21st 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
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Hits: 3527
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Lillian Axe: XI: The Days Before Tomorrow
Posted by Lawler on 2012-01-27 12:48:32
My Score:

I agree this is the best album since "Psychoschizophrenia" Steve Blaze's guitar work is top notch, And new vocalist does an amazing job. I think his vocals are very different from Ron Taylor and Derrick Lefevre (Ron & Derrick had a very similar style) It's sad this band never got the recognition it deserved, They are not a hair metal band as they are labeled, Fans of Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine, Fates Warning etc. Should really check this band out they really deserve success.

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