Monday, April 28, 2014

Axe Attack Vol II

K-Tel's Axe Attack compilation was the introduction to the dark pleasures of Heavy Metal to many a plukey youth in the early 80s, your author included. It did this by cramming far too many songs, K-Tel style on two sides of vinyl. With it being such a success, a follow-up was probably inevitable.

Axe Attack Vol II came out a year or so later in 1981. A first glance indicates that they stuck to the successful template of the first record: a safe mix of big hitters (Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Whitesnake) joined by some US cousins and a couple of NWOBHM bands. If you look at the track listing a bit closer though, you come to the conclusion that Axe Attack Vol II was a bit more eccentric than it's elder brother.

First of all Rush are present with The Trees, otherwise known as the Rush song that people who don't like Rush tend to cite whenever they feel the need to justify why they don't like Rush. Then we've got a three track weirdfest halfway through Side Two. Gillan's truly awful Mutually Assured Destruction kicks things off, a bad O'Level English essay on Nuclear War wearing a denim jacket. This is followed by Ted Nugent's bizarre Flesh & Blood, a pretty scary song coming from someone with as many guns as Ted has. Still, it's not all bad, as Blue Oyster Cult's wonderful Godzilla saves things, and leaves you mulling over its profound refrain: "History shows again and again / How nature points out the folly of men / Godzilla!"

As for the NWOBHM, Iron Maiden are present with Murders in the Rue Morgue, a brilliant song that reminds you just what an energetic and exciting band the Di'anno Maiden were. Then there's Def Leppard, whose amateurish Rock Brigade will have you scratching your head once again at how they ever made it so big. And finally there's Samson, whose Earth Mother is against all odds great fun, propelled by a terrific riff.

There was no Axe Attack Vol III. I guess Vol II didn't sell as well. Besides by 1981, the glory days of heavy metal bands having unlikely Top 20 singles was largely coming to an end. Hair and Thrash metal were waiting.


  1. I heard Mutually Assured Destruction for the first time the other week. It doesn't half go on.

  2. I bought the damn thing. The picture sleeve had a booklet containing the script of a "one act play" by Ian Gillan featuring an American and a Russian arguing in the aftermath of a nuclear war. It was even worse than the record.