"Heavy Metal Sanctuary"

By Dr. Abner Mality

It is 1983 all over again in the world of Battleaxe. I recall seeing the cartoonish cover of "Burn This Town" in the old record stories I used to frequent and even back then, it looked kinda cheesy. But it was classic dyed in the wool heavy metal and 31 years later, "Heavy Metal Sanctuary" is hewn from the same steel.

Always derivative, Battleaxe recycles a ton of pure 80's riffs on "Heavy Metal Sanctuary"...and it is glorious to hear. These dudes were there almost at the beginning, so who has more of a right to plunder the days of legend? At least they do it with energy and a great clear sound. Starting with dramatic synth and bombastic vocals from Dave King, they launch into the super anthemic title track and you can already hear Saxon, Priest and Accept up the ying yang. From there, the band hit all the styles of early 80's metal, from fast, heads down stuff like "Shock and Awe" and "Too Hot For Hell" to cranking AC/DC style rockers such as "Give It More" and "Romeo". There's even a kind of Whitesnakish bluesy ballad, "Kingdom Come", which I felt was the least successful track. There is not one riff on the album that you haven't heard before, but surely, if you're looking for some good nostaligic headbanging, "Heavy Metal Sanctuary" is the place to be .

The hair is a lot thinner and the production a lot thicker, but this is the same Battleaxe that we know from all those years ago. Long may they bang!