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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Battle Axe - 1984 Power From The Universe
Battle Axe - 1984 Power From The Universe

ARTIST: Battleaxe
ALBUM: Power From The Universe
LABEL: Music For Nations
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1994, Roadrunner, RR-9845 * 1994, FEMS (Japan), APCY-8169


LINEUP: Dave King - vocals * Steve Hardy - guitars * Brian Smith - bass * Ian McCormack - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Chopper Attack * 02 Movin' Metal Rock * 03 License To Rock * 04 Fortune Lady * 05 Shout It Out * 06 Over The Top * 07 Power From The Universe * 08 Make It In America


Battleaxe first came to my attention with a featured track on Music For Nation's 1986 compilation 'Welcome To The Metalzone' in the form of 'Chopper Attack'. Riding the tail end of the NWOBHM movement, the band formed in 1983, originating from Geordie land in Sunderland. Battleaxe were signed to MFN almost immediately, on the basis of several compilation tracks on a sampler album 'Roxcalibur'. The debut wasn't long in coming, 'Burn This Town' hit the shelves in 1983 also. Tracks like 'Ready To Deliver' and 'Dirty Rocker' established the band in the same leagues as Motorhead and fellow labelmates Tank, their style very basic and fast paced raw metal. Drummer Ian McCormack replaced original stickman Ian Thompson for this album, which would prove to be Battleaxe's last.

The Songs
Opener 'Chopper Attack' is a Vietnam War inspired selection, building slowly before descending into full speed madness. Very much on the same terms as Tank's 'The War Drags Ever On', except more accessible, with more fully realised heaviness and melody. 'Movin' Metal Rock' sees a shift to AC/DC type, anthemic chorus material, with King coming on like Ozzy Osbourne in his prime. The excellently titled 'License To Rock' opens with a riff from the 'Hells Bells' book, and as much as I hate to say it, reminds me of Spinal Tap's 'Big Bottom', with a similar musical stance. Cornball and rightfully so. 'Fortune Lady' is a near seven minute epic, with shades of Iron Maiden this time, as King adopts his Bruce Dickinson persona. Well structured nonetheless, with a slower first half and blindingly quick latter section. 'Shout It Out' and 'Over The Top' are titles which speak for themselves, the former a 'fight for your metal rights' classic, while the latter goes for a 1981 Def Leppard riff attack, the hook marginally radio bound. The title track opts for a maniacal thrash direction, with shredding riffing and relentless skin pounding from McCormack. It takes a detour near the end, introducing a chorus made for something akin to a children’s cartoon show, reminding one of 'Masters Of The universe' or 'Transformers'! 'Make It In America' is one of those blatant titles in the same vein as Def Leppard's 'Hello America' or Saxon's 'Sailing To America', displaying what the band really wanted, the chance to break it in the US. Typically the song is ultra commercial, with near AOR pretensions, very acceptable and a nice stylistic departure.

In Summary
So what happened? Battleaxe split not long after, even after all of MFN's attempts to push them. Looking back they were a more intriguing band than Motorhead or Tank because they had the ability to mix metal, hard rock and AOR, yet maintain a sense of credibility and still sound heavy. It's unfortunate that the glut of similar English metal acts of the era engulfed them, because you could only wish for bands this good to still exist today. A rumoured comeback was hinted at in 1998, but nothing ever came of it. Long out of print, the album can be heard at Vibrations Of Doom for those interested. A worthwhile endeavour if you choose to.

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#1 | dangerzone on April 18 2008 13:48:55
There's a video on YouTube for 'Chopper Attack' which was made some 22 years after this album! It has to be seen, metal at its best.
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