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Lillian Axe: Psalms For Eternity (3CD)

With an initial look and lyrics that fit perfectly into the Sunset Strip scene of the 80s, but a heavier, grittier attack that should have made them the perfect band to ride into the 90s, while Lillian Axe built an impressive fan following, the wider success their music merited never quite materialised. Psalms For Eternity is a welcome 3CD opportunity to reassess some of the strongest moments in this band’s catalogue, with each of the three discs split into loosely themed sections.

Disc 1 comes in the shape of ‘Earth’, which contains one of the most well-known songs from each of the band’s nine studio albums. The second, ‘Sky’, has a deep track from each, and the third, ‘Sea’, a ballad, with each disc also coming replete with a bonus track. Hence there are thirty slices of Lillian Axe goodness to wrap your ears around here and it has to be said that it’s a hell of a ride. It’s natural to initially gravitate towards ‘Earth’ first, big hitters like “True Believer”, “Show A Little Love” and “Waters Rising” showing both the class and evolution of what’s on show here, with the earlier cuts revealing lyrics that fall into that tongue in someone else’s cheek raunch that was the theme of the day, while mid to latter day outings deal with everything from mental health struggles to climate change. Musically what really surprises is not how strong this collection is - Steve Blaze, who has been the guitarist in this band since day one is an underrated six-string genius - but also how coherent the journey from the debut in 1988 to their most recent (although a new outing is on the way!!) album XI: The Day Before Tomorrow from 2012, truly is, and the bonus cut, “Angels Among Us”, which was originally from certain versions of that latter album isn’t out of place either.

Proving this point further the ‘Sky’ disc digs deeper, “The Great Divide” an insistent way to open this part of the collection, with its more melancholy vibe a feature that Lillian Axe can often bring to bear with real authority. Anyone thinking that this band were ever throwaway ‘hair metal’ really needs to sit and tune in here and discover just how wrong they are. The stripped back “Nocturnal Symphony” takes us deeper into this journey, heart shredding melodies and counterpoints creating a mesmerising, enveloping experience, while “Stop The Hate” and “All’s Fair In Love And War” turn a light on how the same atmosphere can be created with a more muscular musical backdrop. The bonus track here is a demo version of the early cut “Perfect Blue”, which proves a worthy addition.

Closing the set out is ‘Sea’, which shines a light on the more tender musical side of the band’s output, with ballads and power ballads the order of the day. Now, if that notion has you running for the hills, then again, you need to give this band a chance to understand that while they did come through in the age of image over substance, that was never the Lillian Axe way. Highlights come thick and fast, “Bow Your Head”, “Fields Of Yesterday”, “Ghost Of Winter” and “Nobody Knows” all impressing, but then everything here does. This time “Weeping Moon”, which was a stand alone 2018 single that I must admit to having never heard prior to this, is the bonus and I’m glad I have now had the opportunity to put that right.

The first release from SFM’s new imprint, Global Rock Records, Psalms For Eternity comes in a classy three panel fold out digi-pack with eye catching art. However, if I could pick one fault it’s that - especially considering this collection is curated by Steve Blaze himself - the lack of any liner notes giving a band overview, or detail on the songs and why they were chosen for this collection, feels like a missed opportunity. However, it’s the music that matters most here and on that score this career overview is a hugely welcome addition for new and old Lillian Axe fans alike.

Track Listing
Disc 1: Earth 1. Death Comes Tomorrow 2. 47 Ways To Die 3. Jesus Wept 4. Water Rising 5. Death Valley Daze 6. Crucified 7. True Believer 8. Show A Little Love 9. Misery Loves Company Bonus Track: 10. Angels Among Us

Disc 2: Sky 1. The Great Divide 2. Under The Same Moon 3. Nocturnal Symphony 4. I have To Die, Goodbye 5. Twilight In Hell 6. Stop The Hate 7. Living In The Grey 8. All’s Fair In Love And War 9. Waiting In The Dark Bonus Track: 10. Perfect Blue (Demo)

Disc 3: Sea 1. Bow Your Head 2. Deep Red Shadows 3. Sad Day On Planet Earth 4. Fields Of Yesterday 5. When It Rains 6. The Needle And Your Pain 7. See You Someday 8. Ghost Of Winter 9. Nobody Knows Bonus Track: 10. Weeping Moon

Added: May 7th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Global Rock Records
Hits: 1495
Language: english

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