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Production-Heavy Glam/Heavy Metal - 73%

DeathRiderDoom, May 22nd, 2009

Kick Axe – Vices

Kick Axe are a glam metal/heavy metal band that achieved a degree of success in the 1980’s. Their debut full-length, ‘Vices’ is an enjoyable 1984 release with plenty of attitude and originality being evident in the music. A pretty decent collection of songs with a good degree of variety here, from this Canadian act.

‘Heavy Metal Shuffle’ is an original, somewhat strange opener, that’s sound is most linkable to Skid Row, or other acts in this vein. George Criston’s vocals are pretty attitude laden and enthusiastic and I particularly enjoy the mention of the word ‘metal’ repeatedly in this one, particularly the sleazy delivery of it at the end. Not the most enjoyable track here, but pretty distinctive.

‘Maneater’ is another interesting one, which I particularly enjoy. It has a KISS-esque feel, due to its subject matter, and the combination of chorus vocals which evokes that Simmons/Stanley feel. This one is also production-heavy, with plenty of sound effects mixed, giving more dimensionality to the piece. ‘Vices’ is an album steeped in production values, with no songs escaping a complete retooling and injection of studio touches and editing. This track covers your pretty standard ‘rock n roll/glam’ territory (which is pretty obvious given the name) and is a fun affair.

The high point for me is the anthemic ‘On the Road to Rock’, a punchy piece with some driving drums and a showcasing of the vocals of Criston. This one benefits from the aforementioned production techniques, and a well-crafted numerous voice chorus, which may or may not include some female vocals. Again quite a complex piece with a lot going on compared to many of the songs in this ‘genre’ which are usually more simplistic. Some great guitar licks are placed strategically throughout which add to the flare.

I mostly enjoy tracks like ‘Cause for Alarm’ which are upbeat, up-tempo affairs with ‘metal’ attitude and enthusiastic lyrics. This one has some great gang vocals delivered with melody that add to the effectiveness. The guitar lead in this one is very much a ‘Priest-like example, with thundering pace and a dazzling display of technical prowess. This is a very strong number with plenty of originality being evident. The chorus is awesome, and again – very complex.

‘Vices’ is a truly complex and ambitious affair in which no song is untouched by an array of editing techniques and over-production. There’s a lot going on in every song which can be quite refreshing while sifting through a lot of simplistic, straight-up kinda material. A lot of dimensionality in the sound – tonnes of dynamism. There’s a couple of very good, more driving numbers, with some being punchy, yet a bit slower. ‘Alive an’ Kickin’ is great slower number in this vein. Kick Axe is an interesting act; part pop-rock, part straight up heavy metal, with a bit of a Skid Row kinda attitude and shit-loads of money spent in the studio. This one makes for interesting listening, and is very energetic and original – definitely not ‘run-of-the-mill’.

-DeathRiderDoom