[published]: 2005, November 1
[in]: Collector's Guide Publishing
[article]: The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal Volume 2: The Eighties
[by]: Martin Popoff

Kick Axe album 'Vices' review:

"A rich and powerful masterpiece of hard rock songcraft, Vices is a celebration of living on par with the most cherished highs from Van Halen, Kiss and Aerosmith.

The elements that make Vices brilliant are many, first and foremost being the king-of-the-world vocal prowess of George Criston, who soars, screams, yelps and croons all over this a performance so sincere and inspired that the rest of the band can't help but be lifted to new heights in the process. And the playing is awesome, bottom-heavy, chunky, sparse and tasteful. Solos are metallic and resolvingly melodic, drumming is manic but level-headed, production is hi-tech over-treated but warm.

Musically, Vices occupies the space between simple, economic, mischievous metal and melodically complex hard rock pageantry. Just about everything rages on this, the smooth cruising riffs of 'Cause for Alarm' and 'All the Right Moves', the other worldly philosphizing of 'Just Passin' Through', and the anthemic bad boy stomps of minor hit 'Heavy Metal Shuffle', through the autobiographical title track.

Vices remains a devastating and enduring piece of metal history after the passing years, the drift, and the ultimate breakup of Kick Axe. It's unfortunate that the overflowing talent on this album had not been recognized and nurtured. After all, this is the label and production team that brought us the obscenely successful debut from Quiet Riot. Instead it seems that someone had prematurely pushed the panic button, causing the subsequent stylistic shifts that would be Welcome to the Club and Rock the World, albums that tended to cloud the band's obvious knack for spirited song craft. Vices, on the other hand, is a necessity of life."

Rating: 10 (out of 10)