And so it was that from the ashes of the Warrior there was
formed a mighty Battleaxe... So runs the ancient legend. Sometimes legends can
be true. Sometimes legends can be modern. From the ashes of a band called Warrior
there came Battleaxe.
Back in the early 1980s in the north-east of England four young
men joined forces to embark on a heroic quest - to be one of the best heavy
metal bands around.
In 1980 when Dave King (vocals) Brian Smith (bass), Steve Hardy
(guitar) and Ian Thompson (drums) went into Durham's Guardian studios to record
the single, "Burn This Town", they wanted to be one of the best good-time
rock bands. With a deal from Roadrunner Records, the resulting album sold well,
bringing them to the attention of Kerrang who said: "These boys wield a
mean blade which scythes through the small label production smog and scratches
some genuine excitement into the grooves."
Following the addition of Ian McCormack on drums, they built
themselves up to be one of the regions most energetic and exciting heavy metal
bands on the scene. Playing gigs across the country with bands like Saxon, Twisted
Sister and Girlschool, recording sessions for Radio One's Tommy Vance, Battleaxe
scored legions of fans with their second album, "Power From The Universe".
With all their hard work appearing to pay off, the band suffered
a severe body blow on the eve of a showcase gig for Atlantic Records when guitarist
Steve Hardy unexpectedly quit.
Yet Battleaxe soldiered on. After a period with a floating
line-up, In 1987 John Stormont and Mick Percy came in, adding a twin-attack
approach to the guitar, making Battleaxe's sound more dynamic and exciting than
ever before. Unfortunatley John Stormont left for domestic reasons and also
Ian McCormack followed soon after. They were replaced with Jason Holt (guitar)
and Stewart Curtan (drums). A large open air festival took place in Old Eldon
Sq. Newcastle upon Tyne and the guys performed magnificantly but this was their
only live performance with Battleaxe. This left the current line up (Mick Percy
- guitar, Colin Simpson - guitar, Bri Smith - bass, Paul Atkinson - drums and
Dave King - vocals) as powerful as Battleaxe ever was, finishing a fantastic
performance at Klenal Hall, Bikers festival in Northumberland. And this is Battleaxe!
The recording of their third album was put on hold as they
went in the studio to record demo material (now released as the "Nightmare
Zone", EP). Arguably, their most commercial material to date, it shows
that Battleaxe was undoubtedly capable of holding their own with the bigger
bands on the scene.
Unable to secure a deal to release "Metal Edge",
the band drifted from public view, losing the momentum that they had built up
over the years. With heavy hearts, the original founding members, Dave King
and Brian Smith decided to call it a day. It had been one hell of ride. Lots
of fun, lots of laughs, hard work and energy devoted to climbing their way to
the first division of rock bands.
And there the story might have ended and Battleaxe become one
of the great might-have been stories lost forever in the misty legends of rock
music. But in the twenty five years since Battleaxe made their debut, there
has been a small but growing dedicated fan base interested in the band, wanting
to relive the material which until now has only been available on hard to find
vinyl or expensive Japanese imports.
Now in 2005, Dave King has blown the dust off the original
albums, bringing Battleaxe triumphantly into the 21st Century. Delving into
the archives, Dave has rediscovered a sonic treasure chest of pure gold, providing
Battleaxe fans old and new with the hard hitting sound they want. Remastered
and revamped, Battleaxe proves their licence to rock remains as relevant as
it ever was.
Axed - Unreleased, Demos & Rarities - (2005)
Nightmare zone - EP (2005)
Colin Simpson [guitar]
Paul Atkinson [drums]
Brian Smith [bass]
Dave King [vocals]
Mick Percy [guitar])