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Thursday, June 30, 2011

REVIEW: Battleaxe (UK) - Burn This Town (1983)

battleaxe burn this town

Battleaxe are a NWOBHM band coming from England, Wearside area. Their sound combines rougher edge of NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) music and rock'n'roll attitude together rather splendidly on "Burn This Town" album. They remind me a bit of bands such as Motörhead, TANK and Rogue Male, perhaps also Spartan Warrior, especially with bass lines. Dave King's vocal delivery is raspy rock'n'roll-ish hitting mostly the mid-range (but not as deep and raspy as Lemmy or Algy Ward), which fits atmosphere of their music perfectly, as "Burn This Town" lyrics focus mainly on rebellious anthems and rock'n'roll life. Riffs in general are quite simple, straightforward, flashy and upbeat - perhaps without exceptional frills, but bursting with energetic attitude and vibes. Guitar sound has that nice 80's crunch and overdrive, not sounding so bottom-heavy, but tasty as hell, although lacking perhaps few additional interesting lead-melodies. Otherwise everything is almost perfect. Drum work on the album by Ian Thompson is notably good, as well. Pounding bass lines are rather audible in the mix, adding the final flavor to the in-your-face songs on "Burn This Town". Production is slightly on a thin side having a lot of treble (but very clear, nevertheless), but considering it was released way back in 1983 it's definitely on the better side.

"Burn This Town" is certainly something you would want to crank up while driving on highway. The album just does have that feel to it. Sort of a great biker style heavy metal, that borders the definition of "classic", being almost up there, depending of do you seek for something truly exceptional, or just is "just" a damn good but straight-forward NWOBHM-record enough for you to define something as "a classic". The album's presentation is strong throughout. Upbeat and rebellious "Overdrive" and rock'n'roll-flavored "Dirty Rocker" belong to among the best tracks on the album. Mid-fast raise-your-fist-anthems "Ready To Deliver" and "Burn This Town" also leave strong foot mark on anyone who's into some NWOBHM. Then there are more laid-back moments with mid-paced drifter "Her Mama Told Her" with that pounding (bass) rhythm. My favorite, however, has to be carefree and upbeat rocker "Running Out Of Time", with few flashy guitar leads, strong driving rock'n'roll-influenced rhythm-section, and pounding bass lines, not forgetting vocal delivery by Dave King which, in my opinion, is strongest on this track, with the great sing-along chorus. Guitar solo is also fine on "Running Out of Time".

All the rest of the songs not mentioned previously hold up, as well. The first six songs on the album just raise above the rest, but the four last ones stand their ground, dropping quality just very slightly. Same good attitude runs through whole album, being straightforward, rebellious, NWOBHM/Rock'n'roll that does indeed deliver! In my opinion, as an overall record this beats TANK's debut "Filth Hounds Of Hades" (being bit more stable through-out) as well as Rogue Male's "First Visit", which both are great records. Majority of praise on "Burn This Town" album comes just from it's awesome overall attitude and highly energetic performance, which the band successfully projects into their musical presentation. NWOBHM-era albums very rarely were full of exceptional technical guitar shredding, and they didn't contain high quality production values, but what made many of them memorable was their catchy, rebellious, and raw musical presentation - whereas "Burn This Town" presents a prime example of that. A few more interesting lead guitar melodies is all it would take to make this album a full blooded classic, but I rate "Burn This Town" so high in my books anyway, that I'll give borderline classic score of


Check to see if available at

  • Dave King - Vocals
  • Steve Hardy - Guitars
  • Brian Smith - Bass
  • Ian Thompson - Drums

  • 1. Ready To Deliver 03:02
  • 2. Her Mama Told Her 03:44
  • 3. Burn This Town 03:31
  • 4. Dirty Rocker 03:28
  • 5. Overdrive 04:23
  • 6. Runnin' Outta Time 03:29
  • 7. Battleaxe 03:40
  • 8. Starmaker 02:55
  • 9. Thor Thunder angel 03:44
  • 10. Hands Off 04:36
    • Total running time: 36:32

For Collectors:
(Following prices have raised since ’99 but will give you direction)
Used album price @ Martin Popoff’s Heavy Metal Record Price Guide (1999):

Label – MFM/MFM8 & Roadrunner/RR9906
Type – LP/UK/83
Near Mint – $14
Very Good+ - $8

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