Love + War

Lillian Axe

Review score: 87%

Review Date: July 2012
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
(www.rockhardreviews.com)

Amazon UK: Buy on CD / Amazon US: Buy on CD

I discovered Lillian Axe back in the late eighties. From what I read, they were billed as a cross between Guns N' Roses and Led Zeppelin. Intrigued, I invested in a copy of Love and War (or is that Love Plus War?) Either way it is a cracking album. Listening to Love + War now, Lillian Axe still sound similar to Guns N' Roses. Released in 1988, Love + War was the band's second album, their first having been eponymous. With G n R doing so well with Appetite for Destruction at the time, this Lillian Axe album was a great distraction for those of waiting for more G n R.

The musical style here is rock rather than metal, filling the album with good riff based numbers. Songs occasionally drift into MTV-friendly pop-rock territory, and no offense, I thought a couple of tracks veered ever such a teeny bit towards prog.

Vocalist Ron Taylor has a perfect gravel-tinged voice for this vintage rock, and showcases his talent well here. Guitars are well played, and this album is very listenable. This album will appeal to those who favour the cool, hard-hitting classic rock guitar sound as opposed to the deeper, doom –laden metal sounds of other acts.

It's a shame this New Orleans band were not heavily promoted in the UK, because work of this calibre deserved publicity. What is really good news is that Lillian Axe reformed in 2007 and have been busy with new albums since then, which will no doubt spark new interest on this old back catalogue classic.

Track highlights:

All's Fair in Love and War

The opener features an auspicious intro leading us slowly into a tight hard rock track. Lyrics vary from cool to slightly cheesy, delivered in an Axl-esque style over stylish hard rock guitar.

She Likes It On Top

A glam rock number laced with innuendo. A bit commercial, but catchy and entertaining all the same. Back in the day this was the track which people who hated hard rock told me they 'quite liked'.

Down On You

Very commercial, pop chart friendly glam rock. Easy listening for fans of light rock. Now, where did I leave my hairspray?

The World Stopped Turning / Ghost of Winter

Listening to these two numbers back to back always made me think of prog rock. At times it feels like the tracks are plodding along, but the guys have worked hard on both lyrics and sound. Not sure why Ghost of Winter reminds me of early Genesis but it does.

My Number

This one's a cover, although the original bypassed me completely. I think the original is from NWOBHM English glam band called Girl. It's a catchy hard rock track which can stick in your head if you are not careful (earworm alert!). Funny lyrics too, made me laugh out loud when I first heard them. Not sure why, but My Number reminds me of some of tracks on Alice Cooper's awesome Welcome 2 My Nightmare.

Artwork

Awesome glamour shots. I remember playing this CD at work back in the day. A young chap I was working with focussed on this album out of my stack of discs and spent a while perusing. Funny how this one stood out. If I was twenty years younger I'd probably end the previous sentence with 'LOL'.

Conclusion

If you liked Guns N' Roses back in the day then buy this album! Nuff said!

Buy Now! Amazon UK: Buy on CD / Amazon US: Buy on CD


Track List (may vary)

  • All's fair in Love and War
  • She likes it on top
  • Diana
  • Down on you
  • The world stopped turning
  • Ghost of Winter
  • My Number
  • Show a little love
  • Fool's paradise
  • Letters in the rain