|[published]:||2017, August 1|
|[in]:||Woody's Rock Reviews|
|[article]:||Kick Axe – ‘Vices / Welcome To The Club / Rock The World’ re-issues|
Canadian Hard Rockers Kick Axe show flashes of countrymen Helix and Quiet Riot in their style and swagger on their debut album ‘Vices’ and vocalist George Criston has a strong similarity to QR’s Kevin Dubrow. They have the slight metallic flavour similar to early Helix which is highlighted on the opening cut ‘Heavy Metal Shuffle’. It’s very of its time, macho strutting chest beating rock and roll but it has aged surprisingly well and ‘Vices’ is filled with songs pushing hard for metal anthem status. It is blunt and simplistic but very effective in inducing the need to head bang and chant along. If you like this style of rock this album is extremely addictive. Kick Axe may not be one of the better-known acts of their day but ‘Vices’ is an essential purchase for the true eighties metal connoisseur with its big riffs and rambunctious choruses.
Their follow up album ‘Welcome To The Club’ sees them veer into more commercial territory with a smoother, more melodic and sophisticated collection of songs. It’s still anthemic metal - brash and bold but more refined with a more radio friendly tone that would make this album appeal to a wider audience than the debut. The song writing and production sees all those rough edges smoothed down and the songs have a more dynamic feel. ‘Comin After You’ has an instant fist pumping chorus and shows the band combining their metallic strutting attitude with a smoother commercial touch.
‘Rock The World’ Kick Axe’s third album in as many years for me sees the band on the decline and is by far the weakest of their albums. It combines the rawness of the debut with the commercial touch of their follow up, but this album is hard going and never captures you as easily as its predecessors. That said the anthemic ‘We Still Remember’ is a stunning stand out track and definitely one of Kick Axe’s finest.
As we have all come to expect from Rock Candy over the years the remastering and sound quality of these re-issues is impeccable. Alongside Malcom Dome’s linear notes charting the bands history, specific album breakdowns and quotes from the band members themselves it makes these albums value for money. So, I can say confidently fans of early to mid-eighties metal and hard rock really need to pick up these three albums from cult rockers Kick Axe!
Album Rating: 8/10
Woody’s Essential Track: Comin’ After You