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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Kick Axe - 1984 Vices
Kick Axe - 1984 Vices

ARTIST: Kick Axe
ALBUM: Vices
LABEL: Pasha
SERIAL: FZ 39297
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2000, Sony, REWIND 55011-2 * 2014, Wounded Bird, WOU 9297 * 2016, Rock Candy Records, CANDY336


LINEUP: George Criston - lead vocals * Larry Gillstrom - guitars, backing vocals * Raymond Harvey - guitars, backing vocals * Victor Langen - bass, backing vocals * Brian Gillstrom - drums, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Heavy Metal Shuffle * 02 Vices * 03 Stay On Top * 04 Dreamin' About You * 05 Maneater * 06 On The Road To Rock * 07 Cause For Alarm * 08 Alive And Kickin' * 09 All The Right Moves * 10 Just Passin' Through * 30 Days In The Hole (bonus)


This Canadian band are well overdue a mention on this website. They own three albums which were released in the mid 80's, and now thanks to Rock Candy Records, all of them are recently reissued in 2016. To be honest, I wasn't that great a fan of Kick Axe, I thought their style was lacking in finesse. And even though I owned the LP's, they never got much of a play. The band certainly had some friends in high places so they were obviously well thought of in the industry. At the time my Canadian hard rock/metal references drifted toward Helix, White Wolf and even early Lee Aaron before she went AOR, though the connection to Spencer Proffer and Pasha Records probably helped Kick Axe come out from behind the Canadian curtain.

The Songs
Kick Axe's prevailing style on their 1984 debut 'Vices' was a form of party metal with boisterous songs and belligerent delivery. Sort of similar to Quiet Riot and Icon in parts, and given a big production. 'Heavy Metal Shuffle' leads the way, the staggered drum part and rowdy vocal from Geroge Criston sets the tone early. The title-track 'Vices' is all about gang-chant metal, which didn't do anything for me I'm afraid. 'Stay On Top' is pretty good, and represents what Kick Axe are all about. The acoustic intro to 'Dreamin' About You' might have an initial hint of Led Zeppelin, but not for long. The chorus is typically robust, more so than the restrained verses. You'll have to forgive all the wolf howls to 'Maneater', a stomping rhythm section which could be 'Ready To Strike' era King Kobra.

I much preferred tracks in a faster tempo like 'On The Road To Rock', though there wasn't much variation to speak of. 'Caue For Alarm' was far too ham-fisted and banal for my liking, the next 'Alive And Kickin' didn't improve matters either. There's some good crunching guitar to 'All The Right Moves' which gets things rocking along again, and though 'Just Passin' Thru' suffers from a case of the cliches, there's enough here to give it a pass mark. As a bonus, '30 Days In The Hole', which is originally a Humble Pie track (from their 1972 LP 'Smokin'). The Kick Axe version is quite different to the rest of the material on 'Vices', but is a good insight into their choice of covers.

In Summary
The band came down to Los Angeles to record the album at Pasha Studios with Spencer Proffer at the helm. The album recorded for Pasha Records but distributed by CBS, featured two songs as lead-in's to radio: 'Heavy Metal Shuffle' and 'On The Road To Rock', though neither was going to set the singles charts on fire. 'Vices' has received three significant reissues: the first being a 2000 CD through the Sony Rewind series, the second being a 2014 reissue from Wounded Bird, and more recently, the 2016 reissue from Rock Candy Records, alongside the other two albums from the 80's: 'Welcome To The Club' and 'Rock The World'.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 20 2017 23:35:40
Even after all these years, that album jacket is still kinda dopey.
#2 | Nick C on February 22 2017 09:36:35
Haha...I remember picking it up because of that jacket when it came out....what does that say about my sense of taste??? Grin
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