Axe – Final Offering
Way back in the early 80’s, Axe was one of the best and most underrated acts on the melodic hard rock scene. Their four albums between 1979 and 1983 are still obscure classics, and this new album seems to wanna recall that era, borrowing its name from what is usually regarded as their career highlight: “Offering” (1982).
“Final Offering” is not as heavy as the band used to be. There are no fantasy metal tunes such as “Steal Another Fantasy” or fast rockers like “Heat in the Street”. This is more mellow and, well, mature. There’s also some blues rhythm in this album, just listen to how the album kicks of with a southern guitar in opening track “Born to Lose”. It then takes us on a mellow journey with comfortable tunes and warm melodies. The production has modern elements of course, few albums today don’t, but it still manages to keep the feeling that it’s sure is Axe we’re listening to. A lot of that probably has to do with Bobby Barths voice, that hasn’t lost its strenght over the years.
The songs on this album are quite long and the full length reaches almost an hour, which I kind of think is a little too much. Not because any song is bad, these songs are all good and solid, but they never reach the highest heavens. The only one that really stands out is the beautiful ballad “Road to Damascus”, which I must reckon one of the best rock songs of the year! It gives me not only that great feeling of the Axe past, but also of other sensations of the 70-80-shift, like Uriah Heeps unforgettably beautiful “Come Back to Me” (1978). Also, closing track “Years Slip Away” should get a mention for its pouring emotions!
I’m giving this a 6/10, but it’s a strong one. One or two more songs with the strength of “Road to Damascus” and shorter length and it would reach 7/10 in no time. So if you like the old Axe stuff, or just other bands in the same territory (Triumph, Demon, UFO), you shouldn’t regret giving “Final Offering” a spin. It might not be great, but it’s good. And add “Road to Damascus” to your “best of 2019”-list!
PS: To Axe: keep it short next time. You’re on the right track!
Title: Final Offering
Label: Escape Music
Date of release: 20/9-19
Stand out tracks: Road to Damascus