The album’s title track kicks off the musical journey. Immediately, the listener is treated to a mixture of musical influences including Glam, Grunge and Thrash. The chorus for “Waters Rising” is big and bold and the bridge includes a lengthy guitar solo that is a definite throw back to the band’s 80s efforts. Still, many elements of the song are exceptionally modern and even teeter on the edge of Progressive Metal.
“Antarctica” comes next and features a more traditional Lillian Axe sound, with strong vocals and great harmony. At times, LeFevre really pushes his voice to soar above the guitar mastery of Blaze. This is a challenge, but LeFevre answers the call. “Antarctica” also features a great bass line that really adds an extra layer of depth to the track’s overall sound.
One of Waters Rising heaviest tracks is “Become a Monster.” Here the guitars and bass form a nice hybrid of traditional melodic Metal, yet the vocals are definitely at another spectrum, creating a very dark sound. It’s clear that members of the new Lillian Axe are experimenting with their sound and looking for ways to give fans a broad spectrum of musical styles while staying true to their Metal roots.
There are slower songs on Waters Rising. One of these tracks is the beautifully produced “I Have to Die, Goodbye.” Featuring acoustic guitars, muted drums and a soft voice, the song tells the traditional story of love, loss and (not) moving on. The harmonies alone make this track radio-worthy.
“Fear of Time” picks up the pace immediately with driving guitars and syncopated lyrics. In some respects, the vocal arrangement sounds like early Alice in Chains but the canned sound elements at the beginning of the track seem more at home on a RATT record. Still, it all works together to create a fresh, inviting sound.
The crowning achievement of Waters Rising is “Fields of Yesterday.” The track clocks in at nearly nine minutes, and features a string ensemble. Steve Blaze plays both beautifully and effortlessly here, and the rest of the band falls right into place. LeFevre’s voice is crisp and clear, and remains strong through the entire song with features many complicated key changes. Consider these lyrics: “Looking back/It’s been so long/My burning passion/Keeps my hunger going strong.” LeFevre’s delivery sells this song and makes the lyrics believable. At about the five minute point, Lillian Axe introduces interesting sound elements such as door knocks under the lyrics. Often multi-layered production sounds contrived, but on “Fields of Yesterday” it sounds – and feels – completely natural. In some respects, the track is like a mini-opera, and employs many cornerstones of Progressive Metal.
After a handful more tracks, Waters Rising closes with “5,” a completely different sound for the band. The guitar work is so fast; it’s easy to get lost in the rhythm. The track also features programming, which is highly uncommon for a band rooted in the 1980s Metal scene. The instrumental work clocks in at just over four minutes, and features tempo shifts, key changes, and a variety of tones. “5” is 50 percent Empyrios and 50 percent early Metallica. In short, “5” is 100 percent unique, just like the rest of Waters Rising.
Waters Rising will hit stores on July 17.
Tomorrow on Bring Back Glam! an interview with Steve Blaze.