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Kick Axe
IV
October 2004
Released: 2004, Song Haus Music
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

Now here was a name I had not heard in a long time: Kick Axe! The band formed in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1976 and, after relocating out here to Vancouver, released three strong albums (and selling half a million copies) between 1984 and 1986. Kick Axe toured with such big name acts as Metallica, Scorpions, Judas Priest, Triumph, Whitesnake and Quiet Riot before calling it a day in 1987 due to management issues. Interest in the band has always been there and their final album, ROCK THE WORLD, commands prices of $150 US on eBay! So here we are, 17 years later and Kick Axe have released a brand new CD entitled IV. They got back together in 2002 and have been working on new material slowly but surely and while this doesn’t really reflect where they left off with ROCK THE WORLD, IV is a solid hard rock release. The “classic” lineup—that of VICES and WELCOME TO THE CLUB—remains intact with the exception of vocalist George Criston who, despite wanting to rejoin the band, was left unable to participate due to his commitment to managing other acts. In his place is original vocalist Gary Langen, brother of bassist Victor Langen.



As for the music, do not expect to hear songs like “Heavy Metal Shuffle” or anything else of that style. Nearly twenty years have passed and the guys are obviously older. This is not “metal” and IV sees the band having more in common with melodic hard rock acts like Bad Company, Damn Yankees or Night Ranger than the big-haired bands they once shared stages with. “Right Now” is a good rocker and features some amazing vocal harmonies by the band. The guitar intro to “Rockin’ Daze” sounds like an ode to Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” (“Purple Haze”…“Rockin’ Daze”??) and is a catchy and fun track. “Consolation” is a bluesy ballad, not unlike that which Whitesnake or Great White used to do. “Turn To Stone” is an emotional ballad which showcases Gary Langen’s voice as if he were made to sing this material. “Who Knows Ya” continues on with the bluesy feeling but is a groovy swamp rocker complete with slide guitar. “Time” reminds me of what Bad Company was doing in the late 80s and early 90s with its mid-tempo AOR feel. “Slip Inside My Dream” is a slice of psychedelia with an incredible bass groove from Victor Langen. “Rock ‘n Roll Dog” is a dirty rocker that I can imagine Ted Nugent or ZZ Top doing. The riff is rough and has a cool, almost southern bounce to it.



Even though it is a significant change from their original sound, it is great to hear new music from Kick Axe again. The songs are all catchy and melodic but have an edginess to them that hearken back to the bands roots. IV is a welcome return for Kick Axe and hard rock or long-time fans with an open mind will enjoy this album immensely.



KILLER KUTS: “Right Now,” “Rockin’ Daze,” “Consolation,” “Turn To Stone,” “Who Knows Ya,” “Time,” “Slip Inside My Dream”
Track Listing

1. Right Now
2. Rockin’ Daze
3. Consolation
4. Turn To Stone
5. Do You Know
6. Who Knows Ya
7. Woe
8. Time
9. Slip Inside My Dream
10. Who Says
11. Rock 'n Roll Dog
12. Black Heart
13. City Lights
14. The Only Ones Here

Lineup

Gary Langen—Vocals/Drums
Larry Gillstrom—Guitar
Raymond Harvey—Guitar
Victor Langen—Bass
Brian Gillstrom—Drums

Concert Reviews

Next review: » Kick Axe - IV
Previous review: » Kick - Sweet Lick of Fire

Kick Axe
IV
December 2004
Released: 2004, Elfin Stoneb
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

Year-end wrap-up: Each of the last few years to wrap up the year I have picked a theme for my reviews for December. This year due to the overwhelming number of CD’s that deserve exposure, recognition and commentary I am going to resort to quantity over quality. I usually try to give as much attention to each CD with extensive commentary however this month’s reviews (perhaps unfortunately) will be short and sweet and much more in the style of traditional magazine reviews where space restrictions are an important factor. (ie. Less detail) I apologize in advance to readers who expect much more detailed reviews. Please check the reviews archives as many of my colleagues have written excellent detailed commentary of many of these CD’s. I hope the large number of quick comments will help guide you making some of those important year-end CD purchase decisions. Happy Holidays and see you in January. JP



Almost 20 years between CD’s for this lesser known Canadian metal act (with virtually no chance of commercial success today) you just know these guys are reforming for the love of music. And it shows. Original vocalist Gary Langen is back in the band but George Criston the voice of Kick Axe is missed. Sometimes these reunions fall flat as the bands sound nothing like days of old but in this case the fairly unique Kick Axe signature sound is intact. The whole thing is kind of low-budget, no photos, lyrics, the new logo is lame the cover is bad, and a weak album title all help torpedo any chance this thing had of going somewhere, but I doubt the band cares. Overall this long CD of melodic metal is real treat for old fans like me despite being by far the mellowest of the four. It could have used four more fast songs and drop some of the mid-tempo filler. Reminds me of Helix now.
Track Listing

1. Right Now
2. Rockin’ Daze
3. Consolation
4. Turn to Stone
5. Do You Know
6. Who Knows Ya
7. Woe
8. Time
9. Slip Inside My Dream
10. Who Says
11. Rock ‘n’ Roll Dog
12. Black Heart
13. City Lights
The Only Ones Here

Lineup

Gary Langden-Vocals
Larry Gillstrom-Guitar
Raymond Harvey-Guitar
Victor Langen-Bass
Brian Gillstrom-Drums

Contact

N/A

Concert Reviews

Next review: » Kickhunter - All In
Previous review: » Kick - Sweet Lick of Fire





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