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Water's Rising

lillianaxe.jpgIs it possible to produce a flawless album? Probably not, but Lillian Axe comes dangerously close with their latest effort Waters Rising. This disc represents years of work by the ever-diligent and only remaining original member guitarist Steve Blaze. The album is also the first with new vocalist Derrick LeFevre.

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.

Reader Comments (11)

Very insightful review! Nice job. I am definately going to pick this one up!
July 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
This one is on my must own list as well. Even though it is a new vocalist with the band, I have already heard great things about this.
While I think the review is well writted, after living with album for month now......yikes, the vocalist (a poor Ron Taylor impersonator -with zero emotion) keep me from even giving the album as high as a B+. If want to know how the songs should have sounded, hunt the demos up, even the better production of the album fails to save it. Sadly if band writing responsibilites would have been shared, we've not be discussing the new vocalist, because there would not be one.....and don't waste your time live - the guy can't do it live (at least in the 4 shows I've seen), it's pretty bad.....
July 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJerry
To be fair, I haven't heard this album, but it does seem a little far-fetched to have "Lillian Axe" and "dangerously close (to flawless)" in the same review.
July 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterbobvinyl
I disagree with Jerry. I have seen Derrick LeFevre perform live with Lillian Axe at Fire Club in Jackson, MS and I was very impressed! I have been a very long time fan of Lillian Axe and even though Ron will be missed, Derrick LeFevre is a fantastic new addition to the band. I cannot wait to pick up my copy of Waters Rising and I also cannot wait for Lillian Axe to come back to Fire Club on October 12th! If you haven't seen Lillian Axe on their current tour you really need to check them out and I really think this is a must have CD!
July 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Wait until the CD is released. Buy it. Trust me.

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson
I have only ever heard two albums by them. Poetic Justice which was very good and Psychoscizophrenia which was alright.
July 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMetal Mark
I have been on board with Lillian Axe since their debut. Sadly, I had most of the releases on cassette,and have been trying to track down the ones that I don't have.

This has always been a very good but under rated band. They never got the same marketing push behind them that some of other 80's hard bands received.

Rob Rockitt
Hard Rock Hideout
Awesome! You know I have to be the first post!
July 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
Allyson, I'm hoping to get a promo from the label. We'll see what they send.
July 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterbobvinyl
Lillian Axe has done a great job on this new cd..My favorites are Anarctica and Fields of Yesterday...I definately recommend everyone go get it...Its good...Just seen them in New Orleans...Derrick is a good singer Period!...He brings his own style and does the old songs justice.. And they are some of the coolest people you will ever meet..Long Live the Axe!!Richard Burch
July 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRichard

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