KEN TAMPLIN – Axe To Grind +3 [Remastered Gold Disc pressing] (2020) *EXCLUSIVE*
While many fans and critics have often touted KEN TAMPLIN’s work with Shout (In Your Face) as his best release, the series of “solo” albums he released between 1990 and 1995 were quite impressive as well, particularly this gem “An Axe To Grind“, which was originally released in 1990 under the moniker of Ken Tamplin & Friends. And ‘friends’ are the likes of Ken Mary (House Of Lords) on drums. Chuck Wright (House Of Lords / Quiet Riot) on bass, Mark St. John (Kiss / White Tiger) on guitar, and more.
Pressed on gold disc, fully remastered and including 3 rare tracks as bonus, you’ll be surprised by “An Axe To Grind” sound, American Melodic Hard Rock akin the first Mr. Big album, House Of Lords, etc.
To fans of US hard rock and melodic metal from the late 1980s and early ‘90s Ken Tamplin needs no introduction. His extremely dynamic vocal range and powerful delivery, combined with his ability to produce smartly constructed and lavishly mixed compositions, resulted in memorable music – music which certainly raised the quality meter to the highest levels within the Christian market at the time and simultaneously garnered credibility for Christian hard rock and melodic metal worldwide.
Most critics would agree ‘An Axe To Grind’ was his most diverse record to date when it was originally released in 1990 and the talents he employed were quite remarkable (Lanny Cordola along with new sensation Scott Van Zen on guitars, Chuck Wright on bass, Roger Mielke on keyboards and Ken Mary on drums – among others).
The album is huge in production, polished melodic and commercial according to 1989-1990, however the music packed inside is diverse enough to make this more than just another hair metal album: acoustic fretwork, straight-up blues guitar, and even a jazz composition factor in here, all showcasing Tamplin’s wide musical range.
Of course, the trademark heavier stuff on here are at center stage, and they’re some of the best stuff I’ve heard from that era.
The musicianship is phenomenal, and Tamplin’s voice is at his peak here. The music on ‘An Axe To Grind’ doesn’t sounds outdated at all and these compositions stand the test of time.
There’s a few short instrumentals included on here linking the proper songs, all showcasing his talent as a guitarist as well as a frontman.
‘An Axe To Grind’ has been out of print and rather hard to find in its physical form since… well, decades. The late-90s KMG re-release was an inferior, badly pressed release. You don’t want that.
So this Girder Records remastered reissue is more than welcome, done with a warm yet punchy sound making this US melodic hard rock classic-era disc rock better than never.
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01 – Livin’ For My Lord
02 – The Continuing Saga Of Screwtape And Wormwood
03 – Goin’ All The Way
04 – Never Give Up
05 – Music Box
06 – Not Alone
07 – Goin’ Home
08 – Bouree In E Minor
09 – Straight Between The Eyes
10 – I Hear Cryin’
11 – Armageddon
12 – Holdin’ On/The Chase
13 – Take ‘Em Back
14 – Believin’ Is The Hardest Part
15 – All The Things You Are
16 – When Secrets Cry Out Loud
17 – Little Liar (Luci)
18 – Take ‘Em Back
Ken Tamplin (Shout / Joshua / Magdallan) Vocals, Guitars
Lanny Cordola (Giuffria / House of Lords / Magdallan) Guitars
Ken Mary (House of Lords / Chastain / Impellitteri) Drums
Chuck Wright (House of Lords / Quiet Riot) Bass
Scott Van Zen (FOX sports / ESPN / MTV / VH1) Guitars
Joey Tafolla (Graham Bonnet Band) Guitars
Mark St. John (Kiss / White Tiger) Guitars
Roger Mielke (Magdallan) Keyboards