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Review: Witch Cross - Axe to Grind
Witch Cross
Axe to Grind

Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Year released: 2013
Duration: 40:31
Tracks: 11
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: July 3, 2013
Reviewed by: MetalMike
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Rated 4.17/5 (83.33%) (12 Votes)

Here's yet another 80s band that, upon seeing the tide of musical taste turning back toward traditional Heavy Metal, is giving it another go. Denmark's Witch Cross released one full-length album, the well-received Fit for Fight, amid a slew of demos back in the mid-80s but line-up and label changes, not to mention the vagaries of life, put the band out of commission by 1986. It is nearly 30 years later and original members Mike "Wlad" Kock (guitars) and Jan "Little John Field" Normark (bass) have put the band back together and come up with Axe to Grind. As with all these types of reunions there is a question; will the music successfully blend the old with the new or are we talking about what is essentially a completely different band? Thankfully, Axe to Grind is more the former and less the latter.

New singer Kevin Moore sounds more like Biff Byford than original Witch Cross singer Alex "Savage" Nybord Madsen (I'm glad these guys have dropped the penchant for nicknames) but either way he's got that 80s sound, so it works. The album opens with four tracks (minus the opening instrumental) that capture the simple, NWOBHM-inspired sound of Witch Cross' debut, replete with echo-drenched vocals and in-your-face riffs. After that, Axe to Grind starts to sound more like recent albums by Saxon. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I prefer first half of the album over the second. Either way, Axe to Grind is chock full of meaty riffs, catchy choruses and some strong bass work. The bare production and loose playing on Fit for Fight have been addressed and none of the energy has been sacrificed. If you've enjoyed the recent albums from classic 80s bands like Tokyo Blade and Satan, Axe to Grind is going to need to find a way into your collection.

More about Witch Cross...
Review: Angel of Death (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Angel of Death (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Fit for Fight (reviewed by MetalMike)
Interview with guitarist Mike Wlad on December 13, 2012 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
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