Axe, The Albums 1979 – 1983 (Cleopatra 2021)

The axe swings again with a new four-CD set of the first albums from iconic metal band AXE.

I remember buying those early Axe (often stylized as AXE) albums in the 1970s and early 1980s. It is entirely possible that I bought the first one on the strength of the cover art alone – I was young. What you heard when you listened to the music was something that was very different from other contemporary bands. Melodic vocals and keyboards, which might make you think of bands like Styx or even Kansas, but with surprisingly sharp guitars. That’s what I remember most about Axe, those big guitar riffs that were so prominent in the mix.

The original Axe line-up (emerging after the demise of the band Babyface) was Bobby Barth (guitar, vocals), Edgar Riley, Jr. (keys), Mike Turpin (bass), Teddy Mueller (drums), and Michael Osborne (guitar). At the beginning, many band members traded off on vocals, but eventually the singing focused on Barth. Axe was growing in popularity with each passing year, and sales of their albums were increasing. They were well known as an energetic touring band and it looked like the sky was the limit. Tragedy struck in 1983 when Michael Osbourne died in a car accident that also badly injured Bobby Barth, and the band broke up immediately after. Axe did reform in the 1990s and have released several albums since. It is those first four that are stuck in my head, though, and they are the ones in the new set.

The clamshell box the new CDs are issued in hold individual sleeves with the original album artwork for all four releases: Axe (1979), Living On The Edge (1980), Offering (1982), and Nemesis (1983). The Offering CD has six bonus live tracks, and there is a 16-page booklet with an essay about the band by Dave Thompson, and liner notes. Lots of photos as well.

The new set is out now on the Dead Line imprint of Cleopatra Records. I am a big Axe fan so it was an easy choice for me. Listen to a few tracks at Bandcamp or Spotify if you want to test the waters before taking the plunge, but it is a solid bet the physical products won’t be available for long. Get them while you can. Recommended.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://therealrockaxe.bandcamp.com/album/the-albums-1979-1983

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/axeband1979

Cleopatra Records, https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/axe-the-albums-1979-1983-4cd/

Axe, The Albums 1979 – 1983 (Cleopatra 2021)

Gods Of Decay, Collective Psychosis (Sliptrick Records 2021)

Tokyo-based metal band Gods of Decay release their first full-length album, Collective Psychosis.

The musicians in the band are listed as Anna (vocals), Frost (guitar), and Yorke (bass). Regarding the new album, Anna remarks: “On this album we scattered a myriad of shards of meaningfulness lost in the abyss of absurdity of our day and age. We hid them with metaphors and double entendre and we hope that our listeners enjoy the ‘treasure hunt’ on their journey through the mesmerizingly sinister spaces that make up the world of Gods Of Decay. Seek, and ye shall find.” That tells you a little something about the band, too. The music is a modern metal amalgam.

Listening to these songs in order is like walking down the aisles of a flea market in an aging armory – there are all sorts here. “Self-Castigation” is a club music intro. In “Collective Psychosis” you can really feel the mental state fray as the song progresses. The vocal harmony, which gets regular use on the album, is a deep enhancement. “Metamorphosis” has a great groovy riff and a somewhat squealy vocal. There’s that harmony again in there, too. “Plague” starts on a rolly-polly riff with a sting plus a shock vocal. After the bracer, clean vocals propel the story on. And then the very next track is something else entirely, and on and on.

Different looks; different takes. According to the band, that is the conscious intention. Some of the music reminds me of a smoother version of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black but with considerably more polish and far greater detail in its assertions. There is a center to all of this that the galactic material orbits. You can hear it in every song. No matter how different one is to the next, you can feel that gravitational pull towards the essence of the band. That is where the cohesion comes from and why I recommend this album. It is heavy and delightfully variegated throughout.

Collective Psychosis is out now from Sliptrick Records. Give it a spin.

Links.

Website, https://www.godsofdecay.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/godsofdecay

Sliptrick Records, https://sliptrickrecords.com/gods-of-decay/

Gods Of Decay, Collective Psychosis (Sliptrick Records 2021)

Splintered Reality, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, September 12, 2021

This band is a high-energy amalgam of rock, thrash, groove, and a whole lot more. Jump in with them and shake it up.

All photos by Wayne Edwards

Links.

Website, http://splinteredrealitymusic.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/splinteredreality

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZs23_O7VwG3ZyOyCy-V6_A

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazinehttps://www.ryze-up.com/music-2/blue-ridge-rock-festival-2021/

Splintered Reality, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, September 12, 2021

I Prevail ~ Frame 42 ~ Inner Image Photo Gallery

Here is another cache of three bands I took a few photos of grouped together for an eclectic rock gallery. I Prevail at Blue Ridge Rock Festival (Danville, Virginia), Frame 42 at Higher Ground (Burlington, Vermont), and Inner Image, also from Blue Ridge Rock Festival.

Here we go. The musical styles of these bands range far and wide, and they all gave us fantastic music to listen to in 2021.

All photos by Wayne Edwards

I Prevail
I Prevail
I Prevail
Frame 42
Frame 42
Frame 42
Inner Image
Inner Image

Links.

I Prevail, https://iprevailband.com/

Frame 42, https://www.frame42.com/

Inner Image, https://www.innerimagemusic.com/

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazinehttps://www.ryze-up.com/music-2/blue-ridge-rock-festival-2021/

I Prevail ~ Frame 42 ~ Inner Image Photo Gallery

Miss May I ~ Volbeat ~ The Lonely Ones Photo Gallery

Sometimes I don’t get enough usable photos to throw up by themselves. Totally my fault, but sometimes shit happens. Still, there might be a couple good ones and I hate to leave them in the vault. This is one of those.

Three completely unrelated bands: Miss May I at Blue Ridge Rock Festival (Danville, Virginia), Volbeat at Louder Than Life (Louisville, Kentucky), and The Lonely Ones at Higher Ground (Burlington, Vermont). The Volbeat photo is a crowd shot but I like it so I have included it anyway. Rock on.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

The Lonely Ones
The Lonely Ones
The Lonely Ones
Volbeat
Miss May I
Miss May I
Miss May I

Links.

Miss May I website, https://missmayimusic.com/

Volbeat website, https://www.volbeat.dk/us/

The Lonely Ones website, https://thelonelyones.net/

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazineBlue Ridge Rock Festival 2021 – (ryze-up.com)

Miss May I ~ Volbeat ~ The Lonely Ones Photo Gallery

Clutch, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 10, 2021

Clutch never disappoints. This was the first time I had seen them since the international slow-down, and it was a fantastic show. I can’t recommend them enough.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, http://www.pro-rock.com/

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/6tqGMedAtDADU5mJulYhSj

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialClutch

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Clutchband

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage in Ryze-Up magazine, Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2021 – (ryze-up.com)

Clutch, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 10, 2021

Joyous Wolf, Showcase Lounge at Higher Ground, Burlington, Vermont, October 29, 2021

Orange County, California rock band Joyous Wolf made a pass through the Northeast in October on their Fearless tour. I never get enough of the bluesy rock delivery that they create so fluidly.

Check out Joyous Wolf’s music on streaming platforms, including the latest release, Fearless. Links appear below the photos.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://fearless.joyouswolf.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/joyouswolf

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7W3_dDSqeHZCny8ZBumofg

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/48vfT7i3EmuNEDAVRhzxpp

Joyous Wolf, Showcase Lounge at Higher Ground, Burlington, Vermont, October 29, 2021

Joyous Wolf, The Lonely Ones, and Frame 42 at Higher Ground, South Burlington, Vermont, October 29, 2021

Joyous Wolf’s Fearless Tour made a stop in the North Country on Friday night at Higher Ground.

Joyous Wolf is out on tour right now, supported by The Lonely Ones and Frame 42 on their current swing. On Friday night they played in the Showcase Lounge at Higher Ground in South Burlington. First up was Frame 42.

Frame 42 is a six-piece band from Michigan. They opened their set with a variety of classic rock cover tunes. It was nice to hear this old standards, but I liked the original music they played even better. Their songs do have a classic rock foundation to them, but the band’s compositional acumen – and performance – add unique twists and touches that sets them apart. You can hear their music on most streaming services. Check out their website (link below) to find out more about them.

The Lonely Ones took the stage next, and they play rock in a somewhat harder vein. Not much is known about them (from their website) other than their roster: Marty McCoy (guitar, vocals), Tommy Johnson (drums), Jymmy Tolland (bass, vocals), and Jake Earley (guitar, vocals). The music they play is guitar-driven hard rock. Their set was a lot of fun to see and hear, and I will always remember it for the completely unexpected cover of Queen’s “Flash’s Theme.”

Joyous Wolf has been playing a straight-forward, bluesy and soulful brand of rock and roll since 2014. The Southern California band released the EP Place In Time through Roadrunner Records in 2019, and there is a new album on the way. The musicians are Nick Reese (vocals), Blake Allard (guitar), Robert Sodaro (drums), and Greg Braccio (bass).

I have gotten used to seeing Joyous Wolf at festivals, most recently at Louder Than Life in Louisville. They always put on a great show and I never miss them when they play these big events. Seeing them in a club setting was a new experience. Being confined to a smaller stage did not diminish the energy of their performance at all.

They played a number of new songs off the upcoming album, as well as familiar pieces. In the intimate confines of the cozy Showcase Lounge, you are close enough to touch the band – their expressions and nuances are on full display in ways you miss when they perform on big stages. No matter where you see them, you are in for some excellent rock and roll.

Joyous Wolf is on the road for a few more weeks. Go check them out live if they play near you. It is a great show.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Joyous Wolf, https://fearless.joyouswolf.com/

Roadrunner Records, https://store.roadrunnerrecords.com/joyous-wolf.html

Frame 42, https://www.frame42.com/

The Lonely Ones, https://thelonelyones.net/

Higher Ground, https://highergroundmusic.com/

Joyous Wolf, The Lonely Ones, and Frame 42 at Higher Ground, South Burlington, Vermont, October 29, 2021

Clutch, Doom Saloon 2.5, December 1, 2020

Clutch is doing another livestream on December 18th aptly titled Live from the Doom Saloon Volume III. To get the word out, they released a video of the band playing four songs in that space.

Neil Fallon introduced the songs, and the first two are well known from getting attention of late, “Motherless Child” and “Run, John Barleycorn, Run.” Then they played “Wishbone” from Elephant Riders. I did not see that one coming. The big news, though, was the last song, a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Lord of this World,” and it flat out smoked. Fallon said they were doing it just for fun, and the fan reception has been overwhelmingly positive. During the livestream, the attendee counter hit a high of about 2,200, but by the next day there had been more than 35,000 views. Word must have gotten out. I hope this song lands in their regular rotation when touring starts up again.

You can watch a recording of the event at the YouTube link below, and the poster for the upcoming livestream is down below that.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1–o-r1sjYk

Clutch, Doom Saloon 2.5, December 1, 2020