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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lillian Axe – XI: The Days Before Tomorrow album review

Lillian Axe – XI: The Days Before Tomorrow album review
Released on:  CME Records  Release date: Available now.

Giveaway at the bottom of the review folks. :)
The band Lillian Axe are not a new band, in case you’re thinking, ‘I’ve never heard of ‘em!?’
They have been around since the late 80’s and I guess their lack of success to date – Sorry guys! – may be something to do with their varied back and forth musical styles, never really sticking 100% to one style.
Over the years the music I’ve heard from them, started out as hard rock with a melodic style, always with an underlying hint of metal to them, but they could also write some great ballads too.
Often I think, the albums would be a little confusing for fans, with that real metal edge one minute and then the softest ballads you can imagine, but they certainly rock pretty hard for the most part.
I think in recent years they’ve almost taken a direction that’s more prog rock / metal. I think with the new direction and possible lower budgets with which to record, it’s lost a little something in the mix / production values.
This album certainly has a quite prog metal feel to it to me, even from the album’s title, ‘XI – The Days Before Tomorrow.’
Opening track ‘Babylon’ starts quite heavy from the opening riffs and then it develops a darker edge, almost a nod to Metallica perhaps.
Then ‘Death Comes Tomorrow’ likewise heavy intro and riffs and then a different direction, easing right back to piano and singer Brian Jones vocals and then loads of widdly guitar from sole original member Steve Blaze and then into a more intricate prog rock style, kind of with an epic type feel about it. Not bad.
‘Gather Up The Snow’ next comes to us with some heavy riffs and harmony lead guitar and then gets into a groove that kind of reminds me of Diamond Head, before then with changes that take a different direction again. Vocally it kind of shifts almost a bit psychedelic with the echo on the vocal and then it gets back into the groove and goes back and forth a bit with this … It’s OK.
A gentle intro for ‘The Great Divide’ next …, here we go, its rifforama and some double kick drum work, lower in the mix and then it’s kind of an edgy mid paced rocker. It then plays heavy on the harmony vocals driving it on and some nice instrumentation about two thirds in and a nice guitar solo from Steve and then back to the song.
‘Take The Bullet’ next offers up signature time changes I haven’t heard so much of for years!
Some nice acoustic guitar introduces ‘Bow Your Head’ next and it grows into a big old power ballad, with a lovely solo. Nice.
‘Caged In’ next offers up more rock, with riffing intro and then a scream! A more up tempo rocker, with some interesting almost punky vocal moments.
It’s ‘Soul Disease’ next and if it wasn’t for the heavy riffs and changes I’d say it could almost be a pop rocker.
You know, I think it Brian Jones vocals that at times make me think he’d be a great pop rock singer.
It’s bugging me that I can’t draw a direct comparison or similar comparison to Brian Jones vocals, but it does have a certain commercial tone about it. It’s not sound wise like Freddie Mercury, but sometimes the way he phrases things, is similar.
 The strangely titled ‘Lava on my Tongue’ is next and it has a definite heavy, dark kind vibe to it.

Last official track ‘My Apologies’ starts easy going and riffs a little, then eases back, then builds back up again.
A little heavy psychedelic feel to it too.
Then it’s weird, there’s like a small child saying something that sounds like ‘For Impossible Is Born?’
Then a hidden track that is not listed with the album cover, which is a keyboard driven track with acoustic overtones, very atmospheric, proggy for sure! I believe it’s titled ‘You Belong To Me.’

Overall, it’s not bad, not 100% my kind of thing and I do like earlier stuff by them that I’ve heard.
The music here is well played by the whole band, no question, but at times to me it feels a little disjointed perhaps.
At times believe it or not, this release reminds me a little of British prog band Pallas, but with less keyboards, think about that one!
Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Official band website:

OK, let's see if there are any takers for this one then ...
None for the Girlschool re-issued and re-recorded 'Hit and Run - Revisited' so I wonder if there are any more Lillian Axe fans out there?

Anyone interested in snagging a copy of this new album - One (1) Promo copy in cardboard slipsleeve only. - answer this band related question.
Over the years, Lillian Axe have included the odd cover tune or so on their albums.
Here's the simple question:
Name any two cover songs and artists, and the album it was on, that Lillian Axe have included in their back catalogue.

Answers to me at:
Include your full name and address - In English please! - with the correct answer.

Competition ends at midnight US EST, Friday May 25th, 2012.

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