Lillian Axe

Live 2002

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As a rule, the mid- to late '90s were a rough time for '80s-style heavy metal/hard rock bands like Lillian Axe. Alternative metal had become metal's dominant direction, and a lot of '80s metal and hard rock artists were relegated to "where are they now" segments on VH1. Nonetheless, there's still an audience for '80s-style headbangers. After breaking up in 1995 and reuniting in 1999, Lillian Axe still had a small fan base -- and that fan base is who the New Orleans metallers cater to on Live 2002. Recorded at a Houston, TX, club on May 4, 2002, this two-CD set is state-of-the-art Lillian Axe -- forceful, loud, and aggressive, yet melodic and intricate. Lillian Axe was always one of the more tuneful bands in the metal field, and enjoyable performances of late-'80s favorites like "Ghosts of Winter," "All's Fair in Love + War," "Nobody Knows," and "Misery Loves Company" demonstrate that the band's well-crafted songs have held up nicely over the years. Without question, Live 2002 is a celebration of Lillian Axe's late-'80s/early-'90s heyday -- the double CD doesn't pretend to be forward-thinking. Few surprises occur, and that's probably just as well because, quite honestly, most of the Texans who attended this Houston show no doubt expected to hear their old favorites. Headbangers who don't own any Lillian Axe CDs would be better off starting out with IRS' best-of collection Out of the Darkness, Into the Light (1987-89) -- that's the place to go if you need a dose of Introductory Lillian Axe 101. But the band's die-hard fans will find that Live 2002, although far from groundbreaking, is solid and respectable.

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