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
Sad Day on Planet Earth


Lillian Axe should have been huge first time around. It's one of those crimes that went unpunished like so many in the eighties and early nineties. Aside from their first couple of distinctly glammy albums (which were good) their output in their first incarnation was spellbinding. They offered something more than most, a depth and variety that not many before or since have offered.

As far as back catalogues go Lillian Axe’s is well worth revisiting. My personal favourite at the moment is Poetic Justice, pure class all the way. Their live album from 2002 in my opinion is probably one of the best sounding ever recorded (and I’ve heard a few over the years). Yep right up there with ‘Live and Dangerous’ and the like…

However this time around it is the heaviest album of that first incarnation that comes to mind. ‘Sad Day’ and its predecessor ‘Water's Rising’ owe a lot in sound to ‘Psychoschizophrenia’. However ‘Sad Day’ is a somewhat darker and richer affair.

The opener (forgetting the instrumental ‘Cocoon’) is all class and probably one of the best tracks on the album. ‘Megaslowfade’ buzzes along dark and doomy but in equal parts melodic and driving. It’s hard to pigeon-hole Lillian Axe, I know first time round they sort of got lumbered into that whole ‘hair band’ category and whilst they could have a stab at the odd ‘hairy’ song there was always so much more to them.

Songs like ‘Jesus Wept’ are almost Prog-Rock in structure but there is always the underlying melodic refrain which so much Prog these days ignores, presumably because a lack of melody allows you to be more meaningful and pretentious. Lillian Axe delivers thoughtful songs that, um, well, rock!

‘Ignite’ (available free on their site to check out) is just a cool song and gives you a pretty good idea of the overall sound of the album, though it is by no means the best on offer. ‘The Grand Scale of Finality’ comes close to being the best song for me at least. It’s a bit ‘Sabbath’ a bit ‘Maiden’ and all class.

There are plenty of other great songs here: they play the title track ‘Sad Day on Planet Earth’ live, it’s one of their trademark slower songs and another that hits the spot. It’s when you realise that you’re still only six songs in that you realise what a good album this is.

‘Hibernate’ builds beautifully but doesn’t quite stand out amongst this collection; ‘Within Your Reach’ is a nice juxtaposition with its almost sixties pop sounding opening, it’s strangely catchy. The next song ‘Down Below the Ocean’ doesn’t lower the bar too much either. It’s sheer early eighties NWOBHM mashed with Sabbath. The next, excellently named, track ‘Blood Raining Down on Her Wings’ is a reflective paean to lost love, which speeds up into classic Lillian Axe.

But wait, there’s more! ‘Cold Day in Hell’ is cool and catches you off-guard, not a classic but a good solid song. ‘Nocturnal Symphony’ starts with a plinky intro but doesn’t stand out for me though it has one of those refrains that is bound to grow on you after a few plays. ‘Divine’ again hints at BOC and the sixties, but has that unmistakable Lillian Axe sound, it doesn’t quite do it for me though on this occasion.

‘Kill Me Again’ is great throbbing metal; and ‘Fire, Blood, the Earth and Sea’ which closes the album is almost a lyrical chant, an invocation, over a slow burn guitar, fading back into semi-acoustic territory.

If I was to have one criticism of the whole (and here it is a small criticism) it is that there is a little sameness of pace throughout. We range from slow and brooding to mid paced, and go little further. All we are really missing is a balls-out full-on rocker, but I can live with that; maybe next time.

I was never sure until now about Lillian Axe’s preoccupation with pseudo religious/spiritual lyrical imagery, now I am. Here we get some quasi-ecological dilemmas thrown into the mix: but it doesn’t distract, it’s just a change from the usual booze and babes imagery. This is a great album from a great live band. Check them out if you get the chance.

Digg

 

 

After parting with long time vocalist RON TAYLOR, many thought the end was nigh for LILLIAN AXE but here they are with SAD DAY..., their second album with DERRICK LeFEVRE.


The atmospheric and moody instrumental COCOON opens the album, followed by first track proper MEGASLOWFADE, a real thrasher of an opening track with some very heavy guitars. JESUS WEPT is another very catchy heavy track albeit with a slower tempo. IGNITE is another rocker and THE GRAND
SCALE OF FINALITY is an epic.


The title track is the first track to slow the pace, followed by the album’s second ballad, WITHIN YOUR REACH, complete with orchestral intro. BLOOD RAINING DOWN ON HER WINGS is another catchy song with hints of classic LILLIAN AXE.


Towards the end of the album there are a lot more of the acoustic guitars: NOCTURNAL SYMPHONY contains a powerful chorus and album finale FIRE, BLOOD, THE EARTH & SEA is a fantastically layered & thunderous epic.


DERRICK LeFEVRE fits in well with LILLIAN AXE, and helps prove the band are still capable of creating a classic track or two.


Steve67