Lillian Axe – Love + War (1989/2007 reissue, Metal Mind)
All’s Fair In Love And War
She Likes It On Top
Down On You
The World Stopped Turning
Ghost Of Winter
Show A Little Love
Letters In The Rain
Ron Taylor – Lead Vocals
Stevie Blaze – Lead Guitar, Background Vocals
Jon Ster – Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards & Background Vocals
Rob Stratton – Bass, Background Vocals
Danny King – Drums
Michael Berlan – Keyboards
Producer: Tony Platt
Total Time – 47:46
Building on what was a strong debut, Lillian Axe comes roaring back with LOVE + WAR in 1989, an album that is heavy but seems to be a little more mature in the songwriting department and better as musicians. Things are a bit more streamlined and radio friendly on this album whereas the debut was a little more raw.
‘All’s Fair In Love And War’ is symbolic of the late ’80s as it’s a little silly lyrically today but it worked for the time. It’s a rockin’ tune, definitely one of the heavier songs on the album. Really good harmonies and solid guitar by Blaze, Ron Taylor’s vocals have that gritty grime that makes it sleazy. Things get a little poppy with ‘She Likes It On Top’. What a title! It’s a catchy song but it sounds like a mix of bad Poison and Autograph circa THAT’S THE STUFF (1985). The keyboards distract me a little.
Listening to ‘Diana’ reminds me of my senior year of high school. This was the ballad that got many spins when everyone hung out in the parking lots, usually played when the girls came by. Definitely an underrated ballad and better than some that were big on the radio at the time. The keyboards distract me again when I listen to ‘Down On You’ but it’s still a decent Hard Rock tune. ‘The World Stopped Turning’ is slow and heavy with another strong performance from both Taylor and Blaze and the keyboards being in check. ‘Ghost Of Winter’ keeps things heavy even though it’s a ballad, it’s very similar to the previous song but with a bit more keyboard.
‘My Number’ is sleazy Hard Rock with a cool riff but annoying gang vocals. ‘Show A Little Love’ was the first single and video and it’s my favorite of the album. I always thought this song sounded like Hurricane for some reason. Anyway, I always liked this song, definitely another underrated Hard Rock classic. I’m surprised this single didn’t do more for the band. ‘Fool’s Paradise’ is another great song that would have translated well to Rock radio, lots of guitar and hooky chorus. I like the drum and guitar intro to ‘Letters In The Rain’, the song is an undiscovered Metal gem. This is the direction the band should have stayed on with two guitars and less keyboards, stay heavy and not try to pander to the MTV/Pop audience.
Like the other reissues from Metal Mind, each reissue is limited to 2000 copies (mine is #1232). Full-color digipak and color booklet with additional liner notes. The music is remastered using 24-bit technology on a gold disc.
LOVE + WAR is a solid album that got a lot of airplay back in ’89 and it seems to be one of those lost classics now, kind of like the band itself. I hadn’t listened to this CD in a long time (I own the original MCA release) and I was surprised that I remembered all the words and the solos! What bothers me is the keyboards, they are a little annoying on some songs and they make them sound too pop-ish. It’s a small complaint because I’m hearing it with fresh ears and heavier tastes. Favorite songs: ‘Show A Little Love’, ‘Letters In The Rain’, ‘Fool’s Paradise’, ‘Diana’, ‘All’s Fair In Love And War’.