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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Lillian Axe

One Night in the Temple

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite a cool set. Lillian Axe threw a party for family, friends and some lucky fans. It was an intimate “acoustic” concert. The whole show was recorded and filmed and this two CD one DVD set is the record of it. In addition to the music, there is a lot of story-telling. The music really is the selling factor, though. Although this is billed as acoustic, perhaps a better description would be “sans distortion” as they do electrify Steve Blaze’s guitar throughout the show. These guys play an intricate form of melodic hard rock that really works well in this kind of environment. The whole show is great, really. The fact that we also get a DVD of the set is like icing on the cake. With even just the CD it would be well worth having.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Waters Rising
They start the set with a melodic rocking song. This isn’t the metal one might anticipate as opener from a metal band. However, when that metal band is doing an acoustic performance, it makes sense. It’s a killer tune with a lot of acoustic guitar, a killer vocal arrangement and more.
Death Comes Tomorrow
Another melodic tune, this is hard rocking. It’s also complex and powerful. It’s cinematic and really would land pretty much in the progressive rock vein.
Ghost of Winter
There is some amazing guitar work on this, leaning towards Spanish guitar at times. It’s an intricate and potent melodic rocker that again lands in the progressive rock genre. As good as the two openers were, this surpasses them both. The vocal delivery gets pretty impassioned later and that’s where the metal shines through.
See You Someday
This is a very pretty balladic piece. It’s packed with emotion and is a really powerful number.
The Great Divide
Another that comes across rather proggy when given this acoustic treatment, the vocal arrangement on this works really well.
Nocturnal Symphony
Everything here is strong, but this stands taller than the bulk. That really says a lot. It’s a powerful melodic rocker.
Sad Day on Planet Earth
This is another that’s rather proggy in nature. It feels organically acoustic. It’s a powerful piece of music. 
Bow Your Head
A powerful song, with a powerful message, this is beautiful. It’s sort of in the same general territory as the previous one. It’s got so much emotion built into it.
Show a Little Love
This is a killer rocker that works really well. Sure, the acoustic arrangement keeps it mellower and more melodic, but the vocal arrangement drives this, anyway.
Misery Loves Company
Even delivered in an acoustic manner, this song is very much a metal one. It’s got a catchy hook and really rocks.
Disc 2
Crucified
Even with the acoustic treatment, this feels like a thrash piece. The vocal arrangement is great and this is another strong number.
The World Stop Turning
There is a bit of a neoclassical edge to some of the guitar work on this. Beyond that, this is a metal anthem turned acoustic. The vocals hooks are quite catchy.
Dyin' to Live (Shades of Blue)
Although this is a pretty straightforward tune overall, there is a complex and compelling instrumental section mid-track.
Until the End of the World
There aren’t any huge changes here, but this song is really infectious. It has some great vocal hooks.
The Day I Met You
This has some great symphonic elements brought in via the guest violinist. It’s a powerful and evocative ballad.
The Promised Land
A powerful and intricate number, this is another that feels close to prog in this type telling.
Nobody Knows
A ballad, that fact makes this rather well-suited for the acoustic treatment. It’s another strong tune on a disc that’s full of them.
My Apologies
I love some of the intricate musical moments on this. Additionally, this has some of the more purely metallic stuff here, too. Still, it does come across more like a power-ballad.
True Believer
This arrangement is another that’s proggy and quite cool. It still rocks out hard, but has a lot of progressive rock in the mix.
Nobody Knows (Crowd Version)
The final song is another version of a previous ballad, but this time the audience sings it. It’s kind of a cool way to end the concert.
 
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