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Waters Rising

Lillian Axe

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Album Review

In most cases, there is nothing less appealing to the heavy metal masses than when a veteran act attempts to update its sound to keep pace with modern trends. And to their credit, Lillian Axe knew to stick to their stylistic guns on 2007's Waters Rising, the group's "reunion" release (it's a bit of a stretch calling this a reunion, as founding member/guitarist Steve Blaze is the only recognizable name from the group's glory days). Vintage '80s metal is the name of the game here — chunky riffs, Queen-like guitar and vocal layered harmonies — and no one can deny the undisputable "metal-ness" of such song titles as "Become a Monster," "I Have to Die, Goodbye," and "Until the End of the World." Standouts include the sludgy "Antarctica," the long and winding epic "Fields of Yesterday" (which, in a press release, Blaze refers to as "Lillian Axe's 'Stairway to Heaven' or 'Bohemian Rhapsody'"), as well as the album-closing instrumental, "5," which sounds like Pantera jamming with Yngwie Malmsteen and Brian May. If Waters Rising were released in the late '80s, there's little doubt that its video clips would have done battle — and held their own — alongside Iron Maiden and Queensrÿche on Headbangers Ball. With countless '80s-era metal heavyweights experiencing a resurgence circa the early 21st century, Lillian Axe couldn't have picked a better time to shake off the cobwebs.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

This melodic rock quintet, originally from Michigan, was formed by Ron Taylor (vocals), Steve Blaze (guitar), Jon Ster (guitar, keyboards), Rob Stratton (bass), and Danny King (drums). The band was taken under the wing of Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby and named Lillian Axe. Produced by Crosby, their 1988 debut was a fine amalgam of infectious rockers and hard-edged pop tunes. Love + War was even more impressive, featuring extended atmospheric compositions that were both anthemic and memorable. However,...
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Waters Rising, Lillian Axe
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Contemporaries