Fields Of Yesterday

Lillian Axe

Z Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Of the hundreds of bands that were active at some point in the metal scene during the '80s and early '90s, there were obviously many good bands who - through no fault of their own - fell through the cracks and never got the recognition they deserved. I'm certain that many long-time readers could easily rattle off a laundry list of some of these bands who were their particular favorites.

Having had little exposure to Lillian Axe over the course of time that I've done music reviews, I'd hesitate to state without a doubt that this group belonged in the same category. By no means is this a slam against Steve Blaze and company; it's just a simple fact that I've not had the pleasure of listening to all of their releases. (I think the only other exposure I had to them was in the form of a greatest hits album from back around 1991.)

With the release of the "closet-cleaning" album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Fields Of Yesterday, Blaze and crew show that this band had reason for people to take notice of them - even though they occasionally fell prey to weak material.

One side note - more of a memo to the guys promoting this release: Why the difference between the cover we've got on this review and the cover art I have on my copy? My version features two cherubs (okay, naked cherubs, but if you get aroused by that, you need more help than I can provide) and - if my memories of Greek mythology from high school are correct - a centaur. It doesn't make sense.

If you've followed the band religiously, you undoubtedly have these songs in some form. Recorded between 1989 and 1992, many of these tracks have found their way to fans through the hands of tape traders. Why they never saw the light of day on a commercial release until now is a bit of a mystery; for the most part, these tracks are very solid pieces of work that, at one time, could have spelled at least another step towards superstardom for the band.

At the outset of the album, it might not seem this way. "Death Valley Daze" is rather atypical of what the metal scene was like around that time. It's not a terrible cut - to be honest, there's no song on Fields Of Yesterday that could be considered anything less than average - but it's nothing that would knock my socks off. On the other hand, when I hear songs like "Do It," "Blood On The Moon" and "The Last Time," I have to wonder what it was about these songs that kept them from making the cut.

Fields Of Yesterday is filled with moments like these, as well as one or two potholes along the way. But the worst things you could say about songs like "Calm Before The Storm," "For Crying Out Loud" and "Kill Me Again" is that they're your typical fare of metal from the '90s: lots of flash, little substance. Fortunately for Lillian Axe, they're able to quickly regain their momentum within the span of one track.

The long-time fans of Lillian Axe, besides being thrilled with the band's re-forming prior to this album's release, are undoubtedly ecstatic that they can now own CD-quality versions of these once lost treasures. For the rest of us, Fields Of Yesterday is an interesting document of a band who undoubtedly deserved a better fate than they were handed. If the new line-up can crank out songs of this caliber, they could well help lead metal to its renaissance in the 21st Century.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Z Records, and is used for informational purposes only.