Sunday, January 15, 2023

EP Review: Ted Axe "The Count of Rock" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Band: Ted Axe
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Country: Canada
Genre: Rock, goth rock
Format: Digital album
Label: Independent
Release date: November 24, 2022
Having interviewed Ted Axe twice for the zine I’ve gathered enough information to share with you readers, enough to awaken interest in checking out his debut full-length and recently released EP. Listening closely I perceive an erratic but singular take on modern rock that can’t easily be tagged. An active musician and performer since touring with the Ramones and the Stranglers with his punk band The Action, he’s unified 70s shock rock and early punk vibes with the early goth rock of the following decade.
In his interviews, Ted Axe has stressed his point that his lyrics don’t reflect the more upbeat subject matter of eighties glam and hair metal. Bands from that era romanticized themes of partying and getting laid when those habits led to that lifestyle self-destructing in the end. Palatable or not, Axe’s imagery is closer to what Guns N Roses presented to us starting with “Appetite for Destruction”. This combined with shades of Alice Cooper, New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, Richard Hell, and Bauhaus creates something fresher, more honest and more inspired than most of today’s mainstream fare. A return, in a way, to the time punk was birthed at CBGB and Max’s Kansas City. Patti Smith would find it encouraging to know this artist is still making a name for himself today.
Like those artists I mentioned, “The Count of Rock” is raw and dark, not without a sense of accessibility; this formula by its own virtue shows how abysmally wrong mainstream perceptions of punk, shock rock and even metal really are. Forget most of the band biopics you’ve seen, this EP captures the true essence of modern rock. And it also restores my appreciation of those artists who pioneered it in the early years. This is 80s pop metal stripped of all its shiny accessibility and given a healthy dose of twilight.
Like his debut “Sex Horror Violence”, “The Count Of Rock” explores the darker side of parties and relationships most bands sang about in the 80s, laying bare the negative impact it has on the average psyche. Everything from toxicity to obsession to gaslighting to self-blame is presented by Axe and his band recorded. It may be too much to handle by the average listener looking for something more “positive” to enjoy, but for those unafraid to stick around after the sun sets it’s more fulfilling to listen to songs that don’t feel any compunctions to reveal something closer to real life. Real life horror? You decide. -Dave Wolff

Ted Axe: Vocals, lead/rhythm guitars, bass
Bernard Guilhem: Keyboards on “Alive”
Stefan Ford: Drums

Track list:
1. Disaster
2. Victim Of Love
3. Wedlock
4. Alive

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