XI: THE DAYS BEFORE TOMORROW
To say the least, Lillian Axe continuing on must just be the mission of guitarist Steve Blaze. Certainly, even he would have to admit that the band has suffered it's share of setbacks over the last few years. With five years of seemingly a new vocalist fronting the band for each release, it's just been tough to get continuity as a band for Blaze and company. For THE DAYS BEFORE TOMORROW, they even had to switch albums mid-cycle when former Metal Church vocalist Ronnie Munroe left the band. Still, they have carried on.
XI: THE DAYS BEFORE TOMORROW is a solid effort from Lillian Axe. It's not an effort that's going to win the band a lot of new fans, but it won't scare anyone away either. In short, THE DAYS BEFORE TOMORROW is a fairly standard release from "The Axe". With the focus once again on a new singer, Brian C. Jones steps in and does an admirable job here. He shines brightest on "Death Comes Tomorrow"; a ballad built to showcase the smooth, strong voice that Jones possesses. Throughout the entire disc, Jones is solid. He's not an overly dynamic singer by any means, but the music on THE DAYS BEFORE TOMORROW do not call for that.
One thing that's highly noticable on THE DAYS BEFORE TOMORROW is the fairly standard, unflashy performance from Steve Blaze. While Lillian Axe has never been a virtuoso guitar band, they have always been a heavily guitar oriented band with a very dynamic sound coming from Blaze's six strings. For whatever reason, that's not really happening here. Sure, Blaze plays well, but the riffs and leads are just not as sharp and ripping on past efforts. Songs like "Gather Up The Snow" are a prime example. There's a nice solo and a good crunchy riff throughout the song, but it's just not powerful and dynamic. This may be a production thing and not a playing thing, but it just feels flat here. That's far from the normal with Blaze. Faster numbers, like "Caged In", suffer from this same quality, although this song is somewhat more biting with the leads that are tossed into the mix.
PITRIFF RATING - 70/100 - Being honest, I expected a bit more from Lillian Axe because I'm a big fan of Steve Blaze. This release is solid enough, but far from memorable the way even recent albums like WATERS RISING were. You won't hate this, but you certainly won't keep this in heavy rotation in your IPod either.