[published]: 2004, September
[in]: Heavy Metal Resource
[article]: 'Kick Axe IV' album review
[by]: Dave Palmer

You know, there are alot of bands you would expect to do reunion stuff and some may not be as welcome to as others. Alot of the reunions I have seen in fact are actually not reunions due to only one or two original members. That people does not classify. Then there are the bands you would never expect to reunite. Kick Axe was one of them. Well, how wrong I was. It's been a very long time since we saw a studio album from these guys. 1987 to be exact. Well, I guess you can never write anyone off, because the band is back. With on exception though so let me explain. The Kick Axe albums that everyone came to love had George Criston on vocals. Due to other commitments Criston wasn't involved in this album. Now before you hit the panic button, back is original vocalist Gary Langen.

Yes, there was a vocalist before Criston and he sounds pretty close at times. Other than that this band is fully intact with Raymond Harvey returning to the fold after his absence on the 'Rock the World' album. So how is this bad boy you might ask. Well, I think it's pretty good... and pretty different. The album to me was a two spinner. Meaning...I had to do a second spin to really get into it. Now I like two spinners, because I find that they last much longer without growing old like the first spin type discs.

The album then slows down a bit with 'Consolation'. You get an immediate feel for the quality of Langen's voice with this track. He really is a good vocalist. Moving along we get 'Turn to Stone' that mixes some great melody with some solid edge. One of my favorites is 'Do You Know'. This song is intense with some great drum and percussion work, but also has a fair amount of melody. 'Who Knows Ya' is a groove based rocker that adds some cool depth. 'Woe' is equally catchy with the Hammond organ adding a nice touch. 'Time' is one of those tracks that reminds me of 'Welcome to the Club' especially in the choruses.

Another favorite would be 'Slip Inside My Dream'. This track has a very cool bassline in it and overflows with a ton of melody. The album then rocks through the next two tracks 'Who Says' and 'Rock 'n Roll Dog'. Pretty straight forward on both. The album closes in a very melodic nature. Very good vocal parts adorn these tracks. The band was always known for the vocal harmonies and the final three tracks 'Black Heart', 'City Lights' and 'The Only Ones Here' are no exception. Very good stuff in my opinion.

The music is very diverse which one would expect from Kick Axe. You don't really get much in the way of 'Vices' on this record, but there are moments similar at times to 'Welcome to the Club' although I wouldn't say it goes even too deep that way. It's its own little personna so to speak. The album starts off with the rocking track 'Right Now' and then goes into a mid-tempo groove with 'Rockin' Daze'.


Don't go in expecting 'Vices' with this album. This album is quite different from what the band has done in the past. I don't mean these guys are trend jumpers either because that is the farthest thing from the truth. It's Kick Axe all the way. Criston doesn't sing this record, but Gary Langen does a wonderful job. I was skeptical going in and came out pleased. Langen was the original vocalist of the band early on. If you keep your mind open, there is a helluva lot to like here. Recommended! Welcome back guys!