The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

lillian axe

XI - the days before tomorrow

RELEASED 2012

 


 

A new Lillian Axe album is always an event at The Rockpit and this album comes with pre-publicity from main man Steve Blaze staring that it’s the best Lillian Axe record he’s ever worked on: a huge claim from a man who has been at the helm since the beginning and over the years has put out some great albums like: ‘Love and War’ and ‘Prychoschizophrenia’ (or even my personal favourite ‘Poetic Justice’)… 

 

 

You can check out my interview with Steve next week at the Rockpit but in the meantime the big question then is ‘Is this the best Lillian Axe album yet?’

 

 

I think one of the issues a band like Lillian Axe will always have, as Steve concedes himself, is that there will always be a group of fans from the very early days who consider an album without Ron Taylor (the bands original vocalist) as somehow a ‘lesser’ version of the band. Some people! Modern day Lillian Axe in some people’s opinion is just a different beast from those early days, but when you scratch the surface just a little you will find that opinion really doesn’t hold that much weight. Lillian Axe has always had that complex side, the deeper, longer songs and bold arrangements. If they have shifted at all it’s away from the lightweight numbers, so if you always loved the epics then this is the album where it all comes together.

 

 

If you loved last album ‘Deep Red Shadows’ (the fanfare for last-but-one vocalist Derek LeFevre, who was replaced by Ronnie Munroe who in turn vacated the slot for current front man Brian Jones);  then you will love this. Fingers crossed that Lillian Axe holds onto Brian Jones as he does seem to compliment well the more progressive leanings of the band here.

 

 

And so to the music, produced again by Steve Blaze and mixed by Sylvia Massy (who has credits from Johnny Cash to Tool and even Prince under her belt) the sound is amazing. Lyrically too we’re in for an interesting ride as Blaze explores the theme of society’s pariahs  or as the press puts it deals with ‘heavy issues of the outcasts, the innocent, the hopeless and the true believers’.

 

 

Musically ‘The Days Before Tomorrow’ is even more focused than its predecessor, and you feel that Blaze has found a new level of comfort and satisfaction, that a few listeners may find takes a few listens to catch up with. It’s a complex album both musically and lyrically but songs such as ‘The Great Divide’ and one of my particular favorites the storming ‘Lava on My Tongue’ (incidentally one of Steve’s favorites too – but more of that in the interview) just work so well.

 

 

Whilst we have come on leaps and bounds since say ‘Water’s Rising’ or even ‘Sad Day’ which only hinted at what we have here, but were both fine albums. It’s not a criticism to say that there is still room to move. I love vast portions of the album but feel mildly let down by a few little things; ‘Babylon’ the opener is a case in point, it’s a fine song with a great riff and huge opening but never quite bursts into flame the way you feel it should, and first single ‘Caged In’ which despite being a great song perhaps sounds too much like Velvet Revolver rather than Lillian Axe. But as you can tell if they are the only criticisms I can level then what we are left with must be pretty important.

 

 

Highlights for us are the driving ‘The Great Divide’ which sits well with Brian’s vocal style; my personal favourite ‘Lava on my Tongue’ with its huge riff and drums and dare I say it ‘old school’ Lillian Axe epic sound; and also the challenging ‘Gather Up The Snow’. But in truth this is one to savor, that you can tell the band spent a lot of time putting together.  

 

 

The best album Lillian Axe has made? To be honest with you Steve may well be right…

 

 

By Mark Diggins