Axe - 'Axeology 1979 - 2001'

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Axe - 'Axeology 1979 - 2001'

Very tasty AOR and melodic hard rock songs with exquisite vocals.

This impressive compilation from the band whose name might suggest they are death metal thrashers (nothing could be further from the truth!) has been overseen by founder member Bobby Barth who has also provided a fascinating 12 page synopsis of the ups and downs (mainly downs) of Axe's history in the accompanying booklet, so I am going to skirt around this, as you will buy this collection and read it for yourselves, won't you?

Suffice to say, the band released six studio albums between 1979 and 2001, and all are represented here, along with two unreleased bonus tracks, the up-tempo rocker 'Bad Sometimes' and the absolutely mesmerising 'No Heroes', both of which are apparently recordings from around 1987. 1979's self-titled debut and 'Living On The Edge' from the following year are both represented by six tracks. These are the original recordings, but those featured from 1981's 'Offering' and 'Nemesis' from two years later are re-recordings from 1997/8, that were done for the two 'Twenty Years From Home' albums released on MTM Music. The band's final two albums 'V' and 'The Crown' (five and four tracks respectively) were part of the same collaborative venture with MTM.

So, Axe, were not death metal thrashers? No! As I'm quite sure many of you appreciate, they were purveyors of some very tasty AOR and melodic hard rock songs with exquisite vocals (either by Barth – on the first two albums and also 'The Crown' or Bob Harris – on the re-records and 'V') supported by fine musicianship (Barth can make a guitar sing with his fluid playing: just check out 'Masquerade' from 'Nemesis' and tell me I'm wrong while the rest of his various cohorts prove they're no slouches...)

For those completely unfamiliar with Axe, try to sample from amongst the following really top notch songs: the Survivor-esque 'Heroes And Legends', the excellent rocker 'Let The Music Come Back' with its moody keyboard opening, the spirited 'Young Hearts' (not to be confused with any other similarly titled song!), the jaw-dropping 'Silent Soldiers' or pomptastic 'Living On The Edge'...Don't let this meagre selection lull you into thinking that the rest are pants. It's just that a listing of all the tracks on this double album would make for a really boring read!

In the word of my colleague Mike Newdeck when he reviewed the two 'Twenty Years...' albums in Hard Roxx magazine: "Essential"... (especially for those of you who have not discovered the band yet).

Paul Jerome Smith


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