AXE — Nemesis (review)

AXE — Nemesis album cover Album · 1983 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Time Signature
CoVinyl Part 7

In my review of Axe's "Offering", I wrote that I picked it up becuase the band name and the cover artwork intrigued me. That also goes for this one. In fact, this one was part of the same haul as "Offering", and I was fortunate enough that the copy I got was a 1983 ATCO pressing. I expected 80s metal, but that's not quite what I got.

That also applies to this record, as it falls more under the rubric of hard rock with a couple of 80s metal elements thrown in than outright 80s heavy metal. And this is, in my opinion, quality 80s hard rock. While the previous record had Bobby Barth as the sole songwriter on most songs, there is more variation here as more of the other members of the band were involved in the songwriting. I think that might be a factor in this album being much better than "Offering" (that is not to say that Barth is not a good songsmith though or that "Offering" is not good - because it is). Pretty much all of the songs are good - with the exception of the ballad 'I Think You'll Remember Tonight' which is just plain silly. Fortunately, that song is easily forgotten in the midts of great tunes like 'Heat in the Street', 'All Through the Night', 'She's Had the Power', 'Eagle Flies Alone' and 'Girls, Girls, Girls' (no relation to the Mötley Crüe hit). Even the more ambient 'Masquerade' is actually a pretty good piece of music.

Now, one thing you can expect from this album is loads of 80s cheese, and some listeners might not appreciate that (in particular in the cover version of Edgar Winter's 'Keep Playing that Rock 'n' Roll'). In my opinion as someone who grew up in the 80s, there's good 80s cheese and there's bad 80s cheese, and - with the exception of 'I Think You'll Remember Tonight' - there's only good 80s cheese on this album.

As you might have guessed, 'I think You'll Remember Tonight' is the one major weakness of Axe's "Nemesis", but I will also point to the lyrics as a weak point. They're just fucking stupid. They're pretty much all about "manly" things like breaking the law, being a lone wolf, fucking lots of girls, and standing up to previous generations (so you can fuck more girls). In a way, the lyrics seem almost like an incel's dream before incels were even a thing. Interestingly enough, 'Girls, Girls, Girls' ends with women laughing at a man... so maybe the album really captures an incel's nightmare? Anyway, the two only songs with somewhat more mature lyrics are 'Let the Music Come Back' and 'Masquerade' - the latter of which is a more mature take on the generational gap than 'Foolin' Your Mama' is.

So, the lyrics are dumb, but the music is very good. The cover artwork is also awesome, depicting some kind of alien-looking figure wielding the bands guitar-axe logo with blood dripping from it. It screams metal, but it isn't... whatever, it's an awesome piece of cover artwork if you ask me which looks amazing on a vinyl record release. The copy I have also came with the original inner sleeve, which actually looks awesome too in its simplicity: on one side you have the lyric sheet (for better or worse) and the other side is just all black with the bands logo in white. It looks really great!

If you like 80s hard rock and don't mind 80s cheese (and can live with pretty stupid lyrics), you might as well pick up a copy of this album if you happen to come across a reasonably priced one. I'd say, at the end of the day, this album is just plain old good fun.
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