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STONE AXE (Stone Axe II) LP/CD

STONE AXE's self-titled debut was classic rock perfection from start to finish. It showcases in an impressive way that it's still possible to reawaken the bluesy hardrock spirit of the 1960's/1970's without morphing into a complete lifeless retro gang. This may be due to the fact, that the band has the talent to write outstanding, catchy songs and the ability to incorporate their own ideas. It really is amazing that main songwriter and guitarist Tony Reed (Mos Generator) shows no signs of strain and fatigue, on physical as well as on creative level. Since the band's self-titled debut album, released in 2009 thru Roadburn Records, STONE AXE released a couple of 7"'s and one EP and there's no break in sight. 'Stone Axe II' is the second full-length, and, to come straight to the point, it's definitely one of the musical highlights of 2010 if you're in search of excellently, soulfully performed heavy rock soaked in blues and rock 'n' roll.

Of course, one feels reminded of bands like Free, Thin Lizzy or Humble Pie, but STONE AXE never lose their own character. The same applies to their second album 'Stone Axe II', released in 2010 by Music Abuse Records. Driven by an enormous, creative force, STONE AXE deliver another masterpiece. 'Old Soul' is not only a powerful opener that recalls the spirit of early Black Sabbath, but also like a manifesto by themselves regarding the lyrics. But STONE AXE is variable, and pay also tribute to The Who with the help of 'One More Time Before I Die'. 'Live For The Day' is finest bluesy hardrock, and a further proof of the band's abilities to combine cruchy hard-rock riffs with great melodies. It would be wrong to maintain that there are only a few killer songs on 'Stone Axe II', and in comparison with the debut, it's more diversified and offers a great trip through 30 years of rock history without losing coherence.

Dru Brinkerhoff's voice is passionate and unmatchable, backed by Mike DuPont's enhancing bass lines and the exact beats of Mykey Haslip, who's never out of place or overloading the tunes. The fine riffs and licks of Tony Reed are the foundation of this tasty crunchy brew. If I had to criticize something here, then only that two of ten songs ('Those Were The Golden Years' and 'Ain't Gonna Miss It') have been previously released on 'Extended Play'. But this shouldn't pose a problem, and if you're a fan of 1970's classic/blues/heavy rock, STONE AXE should be on top of your shopping list.

(KK)

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