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Axas – Broken Dreams (45th Anniversary Edition Reissue)

Axas
Broken Dreams (45th Anniversary Edition Reissue)
by Mike McMahan at 06 May 2020, 11:02 PM

AXAS was an American mid to late seventies Hard Rock/Psychedelic band hailing from the state of Indiana. That may be all you ever know about them; because if you are looking for information concerning the band, it is simply not out there. They released the album “Broken Dreams” originally in 1974, and while apparently quite legendary, has been almost impossible to find since that time. Sonic Age Records has now done a 45th Anniversary Edition Reissue of “Broken Dreams,” and after listening to the material, I can say that it is a shame it has been away this long.

I can also say that since I have been writing for Metal Temple, I have never seen a worse case of mis-marketing. By the looks of the reissued album cover art, you would think you were about to delve into a band along the same vein as DEAD KENNEDYS or SLAYER, when honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. Make no mistake going in, this is not what most would even consider “Hard Rock,” as the music held within bears more in common with LITTLE RIVER BAND than it does with LED ZEPPELIN.

That is certainly not to say that there isn’t quality music held within. The original release starts with the third song here, while “Lucifer” and “Goodbye America” were an unreleased single and B-side, respectively. Apparently, these were derived from outtakes, as neither song made the final production cut of the album release. “Lucifer” opens slowly, with a falsetto-pitched vocal and trebly guitar part but does eventually touch on a tad of heaviness around the midway point of the song, while “Goodbye America” retains an almost folkish angle throughout. This is the better of the two songs, in my opinion, and features an almost Neil Young-like guitar solo towards the end of the song.

Don’t You Think It’s Time” put me in mind of more mellow “heavy” moments from the seventies. Musically, the track smokes, with a great driven guitar part (at once, garnering a comparison to Mick Ralphs of BAD COMPANY, combined with a touch of CHICAGO’s original maestro Terry Kath). There is a point going into the midsection of this song that does hint at heaviness, but again, never really breaks that barrier.

There are a few songs contained here that I would consider “heavy”: “Lyin’ On,” “Golden Throne,” “Scavenger Train,” and the bonus cut “Prisoner of Lust” all have good moments and a heavier feel than most other tracks. “Ala Moana Strut,” an instrumental, has almost a more pop/jazz fusion feel; while “You Don’t Have to Say You’re Sorry” might be more at home at Woodstock, with its nice harmony vocals and veteran sounding musicianship.

Disc 2 of this collection is all bonus live recordings. As a live unit, AXAS feels heavier, and they sound as if they are having a great time. Where these recordings fall short is in the quality of the mix, as it all sounds murky and muddy. It is a shame.

I am a music “snob,” and I consider myself pretty well versed in this particular era of rock and roll. It bothers me that I didn’t know about this band going into this review. It also bothers me that the album has been so hard to come by for so many years. Hopefully, people can look past the misleading cover art long enough to give this one a chance.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Disc 1
45 Single
1. Lucifer
2. Goodbye America
Broken Dreams
3. Don’t You Think It’s Time
4. Lyin’ On
5. Here I Go Again
6. You Don’t Have to Say You’re Sorry
7. Golden Throne
8. Ala Moana Strut
9. Scavenger Train
10. Playin’ Our Dues
11. Broken Dreams
Bonus
12. Prisoner of Lust
13. Play With Me

Disc 2
Bonus Live
1. Come On Everybody
2. County Jail
3. Don’t You Think It’s Time
4. Hard Attack
5. Hooker
6. Mister Majestic
7. My Kinda Woman
8. Rich Man
9. Rock and Roll Queen
10. Scavenger Train
11. She’s Mine
12. Take Me Down By the River
13. To See the Sun Rise
Lineup:
Rex Crockett – Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Kenny Holcomb – Bass, Vocals
Bill Carbaugh – Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Alex Parkevich – Drums, Percussion
Dan Shank – Guitars, Vocals
Tom Myers – Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Record Label: Sonic Age Records
     


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