[published]: 2004, October 1
[in]: RockUnited
[article]: 'Kick Axe IV' album review
[by]: Urban Wallstrom

There hasn't been a lifesign for more than 17 years and completely out of the blue, here's the new Kick Axe album. Vocalist George Criston is nowhere to be found though (his latest release must have been the "Paradise - Light The Fire" CD on Escape Music), and "original" vocalist Gary Langen???!!!! can be heard for the first time on record here. He's appearently the "original" singer as he used to hang with the rest of the band, way back in the 70ies or something. I had no idea really and like I've said many times before, the "original" members are the one's which you can find on the first release by any band. Think about it... almost every act have a dozen or two of ex-members out there, which never survived to the recording stages.

I can totally understand why Langen (the brother of bassist Victor Langen?) never quite made it in the first place as Criston is superior to him in every aspect. The Gillstrom brothers (Larry - guitars, Brian - drums), are still with us and they are trying to recreate the power of long gone days. Something which unfortunately never happens as "IV" could easily be described as average at its best and disappointing at its worst. There's simply not enough of goodies among the 14 tracks included and it feels more like 3-4 good songs and a bunch of fillers.

I'm all for comebacks and reunions of 80ies hardrock bands in general. However, it certainly helps if you're still capable of writing strong and solid hardrock material. This isn't exactly a worthy follow up to the likes of "Vices" and "Welcome To The Club", even if "Rock The World" was already a small dissapointment. Credit for staying somewhat true to their "original" sound, even if you can't find many uptempo tracks here. Something like "Black Heart" feels more like a poor version of Aerosmith and several tracks pat homeage to the Zeppelin lads. Let's hope Kick Axe won't disapear for another 17 years instead of returning with a much stronger album in a year or two.