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Articles Home » 1989 Articles » Lillian Axe - 1989 Love + War
Lillian Axe - 1989 Love + War

ARTIST: Lillian Axe
ALBUM: Love + War
YEAR: 1989
CD REISSUE: 2007, Metal Mind Productions, MASS CD 1077 DG * 2017, Rock Candy Records, CANDY297


LINEUP: Ron Taylor - vocals * Stevie Blaze - guitars, keyboards, backing vocals * Jon Ster - rhythm guitars, keyboards, backing vocals * Rob Stratton - bass * Danny King - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 All's Fair In Love And War * 02 She Likes It On Top * 03 Diana * 04 Down On You * 05 The World Stopped Turning * 06 Ghost Of Winter * 07 My Number * 08 Show A Little Love * 09 Fools Paradise * 10 Letters In The Rain


As my transition from LP to CD started to occur during 1989, Lillian Axe become the third CD acquisition to my collection, following after the debut Mr Big and Bad English CD's. There was something about this New Orleans band that kinda struck me. I first saw them and read about them in Hit Parader magazine, following on from their 1988 self titled debut. Back then, they were slightly different to the normal wave of hair metal bands doing the rounds. The Lillian Axe sound was quite stylish, and in parts symphonic. But then again, they had no trouble bashing out the usual fare of party-anthem rockers when required. Called to the production desk was Englishman Tony Platt, who had worked on other melodic rock projects during the mid 80's including Shy's 'Brave The Storm', Cheap Trick's 'The Doctor' and Jeff Paris' 'Wired Up'.

The Songs
Interesting that Lillian Axe were pursuing subject matter beyond the norm of hair metal bands. Musically the band were good enough to pull this off, as a result, 'Love + War' stands the test of time when listening to it decades later. The slow build up to 'All Fair's In Love An War' soon makes way for a solid hit-out, and Lillian Axe are soon on their way. Singer Ron Taylor talks and snarls his way through the vocal, with big gang-chants and fiery guitar work from Steve Blaze as partners in crime. The song-title 'She Likes It On Top' is not what you think it is; it's a song about success, and its trappings. 'Diana' is LA's little ray of sunshine on the album, very bright sounding and melodic. 'Down On You' captures the band in an upbeat mood, the guitar solo from Blaze a stand-out.

It's that this point that Lillian Axe turn their hand to more serious material, with the dual pairing of 'The World Stopped Turning' and the brilliant 'Ghost Of Winter' tipping the album on its head. Both slightly darker edged, with a hint of Queensryche and the symphonic side of Virgin Steele peeping through. Both excellent tracks. 'My Number' is a return to hair-metal climes, with its glam/hair edge, while the pairing of 'Show A Little Love' and 'Fools Paradise' are styled in standard 80's hard rock metal. The album finishes up with 'Letters In The Rain', another album highlight with tough guitar passages and equally tough vocals.

In Summary
MCA didn't hang around after this album, Lillian Axe were offloaded due to poor sales. I still yank this album out occasionally and regale in the year that was 1989. Another fine chapter to what was arguably the best year for AOR before grunge put the spanner in the works. Lillian Axe weren't quite finished, as they soldiered on until 1995 with a brace of albums when signed to IRS. They reformed in 1999 and continue to this day. More on the history of Lillian Axe is coming up.

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#1 | gdazegod on May 22 2016 22:12:03
Lillian Axe - 1989 Show A Little Love (official video)
YouTube Video:
#2 | rkbluez on May 24 2016 02:26:50
Steve Blaze great guitarist and songwriter...their best work was IMO Psychoschizophrenia (1993)...but Love and War was a great album too... these guys were much more musical and pompy than some of the other so called hair metal bands.
#3 | spawn71 on May 24 2016 18:38:38
Ah, I love this one, more than the debut! The songs are quite different: for example, the opener is quite epic and pompy, while the second one is more in the vain of the classic 80's party metal. 'Ghost of winter' is a beautiful piece of art, too! I quite like also the follow up, 'Poetic Justice', released by the label IRS.
#4 | super80boy on January 21 2018 18:51:14
The band really broadens their approach and sound with this sophomore effort. It’s got a more lush and polished production value, reminding me of Def Leppard at times, especially on ‘Show A Little Love’. ‘Diana’ is a cool sublime effort that slides in between the epic pop metal rockers ‘Down On You’ & ‘All’s Fair In Love and War’. The second side’s opener ‘Ghost Of Winter’ is a mid-paced standout. ‘Fool’s Paradise’ has a burning guitar and drum arrangement. What a great album.
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