Lillian Axe present a new album and a new singer. Unfortunately Ronny Munroe wasn't able to stay with Lillian Axe due to his involvement in other bands - by now he also left Presto Ballet due to being part of Trans-Siberian Orchestra - and Lillian Axe had to find a new singer. The new guy is Brian Jones and I expected a powerful singer to replace Mr. Munroe, but Brian Jones isn't what I expected.
The album kicks off with Babylon, a heavy riff leads you into this track and you expect a high scream... After a minute or so Mr. Jones joins into this mid-paced tune, a melodic track, but not a good choice for an opener. In my opinion it's also too long, they can't keep the listeners attention. Heavy drums lead you into Death Comes Tomorrow, but then they slow down and you get a piano-based passage. Only piano and vocals - and even here Mr. Jones can't shine. They return to the powerful guitar-based sound, but while at some songs the vocals do the trick and hook you up even when the songs is so-so, it doesn't happen here - at least he can't hook me up. With Gather Up The Snow it gets a bit better, but it also shows Jones limits. Somehow I have the feeling that quite a few songs have been written for Ronny Munroe and now have been modified to fit Brian Jones... Perhaps I'm wrong...
The Great Divide works better, but the more I hear of the new Lillian Axe the more I think that Brian Jones isn't the perfect singer for Lillian Axe - only if they want to adventure get into alternative rock in future... I like some of the vocal lines at this one, but the quite modern riffing doesn't match the atmosphere the vocals creating. Take The Bullet shows some progressive elements combined with modern riffing and vocals which partly need to be more aggressive. With Bow Your Head they present a balladesque tune with an opening passage based on acoustic guitars and vocals, later the band joins in. This track shows that Brian Jones is best add balladesque stuff. Not that this is giving me goosebumps, but still here the vocals work best with the music. Beside that it has a catchy edge and a emotional guitar solo to offer.
With a scream they head into Caged In, but even if this is quite heavy the vocals can't keep up. Later the song changes, becomes more melodic and somehow leaves me puzzled. It's too mixed and even if some passages give a good impression they don't work well together.
The closer is called My Apologies, a quite balladesque opening, but it gets a bit heavier. I'm wondering, if this is an apology to their long time fans.... I think many old fans will be disappointed... Someone who never listened to Lillian Axe in the past might like it...
Sorry guys, but I think you should have take time to find a more powerful singer for Lillian Axe or if you want to head into alternative rock, reduce the heavy riffing and rename. I don't really believe you want to change style, but this album can't stand comparison with your previous releases. The skills are there and Steve Blaze wrote some great tunes in the past, but not this time. Please make up your mind where you want to go next time and if it means a change, go for it! But go all the way!