The ever-prolific Max the Axe has plenty of CDs under his belt, but the 2008 EP Overload is one of his most pleasing. Featuring vocalist Terry Guirey, Overload has six rocking tunes, clocking in at roughly 18 minutes. No fuss, no muss, no fat to be trimmed.
Opener “Overload” (heard in the video below) begins quiet and ominously enough, but just when you’re expecting a Scorpions power ballad to start, in comes the heavy! “If I told you once, I told you over and over,” sings Guirey over a simple grungey punk riff. “‘Cause I’m prone to overload…” he says, so stand back. No guitar solo, just punk rock heaviness.
A jolt of feedback in “Blood Runs Red” illustrates the rawness of the recording. All you need is a riff and a melody, and Max serves it up blood-raw. He’s also not content to only give you just one riff per song! That’s also the case with “Labyrinth”, which settles into a nice groove.
If “River Grand” sounds familiar, it should. 10 years later, it was re-vamped with vocalist extraordinaire Eric “Uncle Meat” Litwiller on the Status Electric album. While the Meat version is superior due to a tour-de-force vocal performance, the original still rocks with a grungier flavour.
A pair of Max favourites closes the CD. “Livin’ the Country” and “Mexican Standoff” have to be heard live to fully appreciate them. The CD will have to do for now. “Livin’ the Country” is like Paranoid-era Sabbath, loosely riffing your balls off. Stand by for a unique, patented Max guitar solo. Then “Put your hands up!” for the “Mexican Standoff”. If you live to tell the tale, you’ll want to hear it again.
Max should consider re-recording some more of these songs with Litwiller. Max has the goods on Overload, an excellent primer for what was yet to come.