Album review: JON BUTCHER AXIS


Escape Music [Release date 19.01.18]

If like me you were one of those who spent every fortnight reading Kerrang! and the Wimpwire column by Derek Oliver, Jon Butcher’s name came up quite often and indeed he got a feature in the AOR/melodic rock edition of ‘Mega Metal Kerrang!’

This debut album was released back in 1983 and is only getting a full CD release now – an event eagerly anticipated judging by the comments on Amazon asking why this album and the follow-up, ‘Stare At The Sun’, are not on CD.

This album reached No. 91 in the Billboard album charts on its original releases and the video ‘Life Takes a Life’ became one of the first videos by a black artist to receive airtime on MTV. It has an 80′s sound in the drums and effects, heck there is even a song called ‘Fairlight’, which uses lots of programmed percussion presumably on a Fairlight synth. ‘We Will Be As One’ uses programmed percussion, coupled with nimble acoustic guitar on the intro before the guitar crashes in and it is another classy piece of melodic hard rock.

‘Life Takes A Life’ and ‘Ocean In Motion’ (not unlike the solo work of Jude Cole) are sublime melodic rock, with Jon Butcher’s melodic vocals soaring above the music. ’Send One Care Of’ is a lost gem of a melodic rock classic, this should have been a hit and then some, with a strong guitar riff and a passionate guitar solo. Along with ‘Ocean In Motion’ one of the album’s stand out songs.

After the Axis disbanded in 1991 Jon Butcher followed a blues musical path and today is a member of Chris Pearce’s band. To finally have this album on CD will please many and it is an enjoyable piece of 80′s melodic rock, plus you get sleeve notes from Dave Reynolds, once of Kerrang!  ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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