Lillian Axe

Water Rising

Written by: PP on 10/09/2007 01:06:12

Lillian Axe sure haven't been busy putting out records. "Water Rising" is apparently their first new album in over 15 years now, and what the band has been doing in the meantime is a mystery to me, as I'm too lazy to do enough research about a band that existed before the large majority of our readers were interested in heavy music. Not surprisingly, "Water Rising" is a heavy metal album, only this time it is one which has something most records in this genre don't, namely originality.

The album opens nicely with the title track's gentle strumming, before the riffs shoot straight to the stratosphere in size. The vocals start out in a predictable 'true metal' style, but a surprisingly big amount of variation follows in both pitch and speed. There's even vocal duels that supplement the catchy chords on the background. "Antarctica" continues the same style of massive riffs, but with still much more substance than 90% of bands in this genre. The solo is technically proficient and earpleasing as well. But by the end of the song, one aspect started bothering me, which is the absolutely horrid production of the album. The bass is tuned way too high, so your ear drums feel like they are bursting into pieces when the kickdrum hits at the same time as the bass strings are struck. If you ask me, it's a rather amateurish error as almost anyone can get decent levels of production even at a home studio.

"Become The Monster" has a predictable chorus, but it works well, because the speed of the song variates nicely between the chorus and the verses. "Quarantine" boasts of extremely weird lead guitar effects that make the song interesting despite its overall balladic structure. Unfortunately, thereafter the band falls into the heavy metal wankery trap, meaning that they start over-inflating their guitars and trying to stretch their sound too far into elements that don't belong on the album. The refreshingly different melodies of the first four tracks don't return on more than one or two tracks for the rest of the album, and especially eight minute long "Fields Of Yesterday" doesn't fit in at all. It would be a nice song for another band given its symphonic sound and hymn-style vocals, but I can't help but think the song feels awfully out of place on this record. "Until The End Of The World" sounds far too poppy, and it lacks a properly melodic, catchy hook. Fair enough, not all songs can be built on catchy riffs, but when you lay it out so obviously in the first four tracks of the album where it works brilliantly, you end up feeling a bit disappointed towards the end. Time after time I return to "Quarantine" for its weird sound, or to "Waters Rising" for its awesome melody.

As such, it's difficult to justify a higher than an average grade for the album, even if the first quarter of it excels in what most heavy metal bands don't: keeping me interested and returning me back to the songs.

Download: Waters Rising, Antarctica, Quarantine
For the fans of: Poison, Ratt, Sixx A.M.
Listen: Myspace

Release date 02.07.2007
Locomotive Records
Provided by Target ApS

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