Opening for the likes of Ratt, Poison, Queensryche, Krokus, Stryper and Lita Ford, working with some of rock’s most respected producers and scoring several ‘Headbangers Ball’ approved video clips, Lillian Axe certainly carved (or perhaps more appropriately, chopped) a niche for themselves with metalheads worldwide during the ‘80s and ‘90s. And now, after an extended hiatus, the group – which is now comprised of Derrick LeFevre (lead vocals), Steve Blaze (lead guitars/vocals), Sam Poitevent (guitars/vocals), Eric Morris (bass), and Ken Koudelka (drums) – has unleashed their first new studio album in nearly fifteen years (and first for the Metro City Records label), titled ‘Waters Rising.’
"We have spent the last 3 years getting this record done, in 4 different locations, and we have gone through a complete metamorphosis mentally and physically,” explains Blaze. “It's a different environment in the music industry these days yet the spirit and soul in creating music has stayed the same in the Lillian Axe camp. My engineer, Rob Hovey, and I spent many hours experimenting with different approaches to this record, but it always came back to the same formula: do what we do, period."
Blaze also offered some insight regarding several favorite individual tracks from ‘Waters Rising.’ “The song ’Quarantine’ deals with germaphobia - I suffer from this condition. I deal sometimes with the ‘dirtiness’ of the world by living in a very clean, pristine, and organized environment. ‘The 2nd of May’ speaks of child disappearance and the theories behind the inability to find so many missing people. ‘Field of Yesterday’ would be Lillian Axe's ‘Stairway to Heaven’ or ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ The one song that encompasses the pieces sonically and emotionally that are the quintessential elements of that group. It is about eight minutes long and has a mid-section which capsulates the history of man's existence in an ethereal interlude which soars and then slams back to reality. ‘5’ is an instrumental in which I used about 80 guitar tracks. I attempted to touch on many different aspects of the instrument from arpeggios to clean picking to orchestration to heavy blues riffs to speed riffing to manipulation feedback. It took a while, as I wrote it as we recorded it, but the fanatic end result was just what I intended."
Originally formed in 1983, the New Orleans-based group soon caught the attention of Ratt manager Marshall Berle and MCA Records, leading to the release of the group’s self-titled 1988 release (produced by late Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby), 1989’s ‘Love and War’ (produced by Tony Platt, who previously worked with AC/DC), 1991’s ‘Out of the Darkness into the Light,,’ 1992’s ‘Poetic Justice,’ and 1993’s ‘Psycho-Schizophrenia’ (the last two of which were produced by Leif Mases, who previously worked with Led Zeppelin). Additionally, such Lillian Axe tracks as “Dream Of A Lifetime,” “Show A Little Love,” “True Believer,” and a cover of Badfinger’s “No Matter What” received attention from rock radio and MTV.
By the middle of the ‘90s, Lillian Axe opted to take a break, although a collection of previously unreleased material was issued in 1999, ‘Fields of Yesterday.’ With metal once more ruling the charts and the airwaves by the early 21st century, Lillian Axe was back in business with live shows, resulting in the release of their first-ever live album, ‘Live 2002,’ recorded in Houston, Texas. Roadwork has continued for the band - including playing to 27,000 fans at Germany’s Bang Your Head Festival in 2004, as well as an extensive European tour a year later.
With new singer LeFevre recently replacing longtime frontman Ron Taylor, ‘Waters Rising’ sees a whole new metallic chapter unfolding for Lillian Axe.
"This album has been conceptually in the works for years. ‘Waters Rising’ represents the boiling point factor, that life seems to be a tumultuous ride always on the brink of explosion. These recent times on this planet seem to be proving this point. However, in each individual is the point where you reconcile this within your spirit and peace takes over allowing you to cope more effectively. The songs on this record cover the different ways that we deal with this factor and the fact that everyone is trying to make sense of it."
Tracklisting for ‘Waters Rising’:
1. Waters Rising
3. Become A Monster
5. I Have to Die, Goodbye
6. Fear of Time
7. Until the End of the World
8. Fields of Yesterday
10. The 2nd of May
11. Deep in the Black
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