Bodies of Water

VIDEO: Max the Axe – “Hard Drive” / Traffic jam on Highway 401

It was a drizzly drive home, with an accident right in the “Sweet Spot” of Highway 401 heading into Kitchener.  Perfect for another Max the Axe video.  The track is called “Hard Drive” (see what I did there?) and it’s from his 1995 debut cassette Bodies of Water.  It’s a killer epic featuring flute, saxophone, and the works.

In this video you’ll notice I’m a patient driver; I don’t change lanes to go faster.  I get in the lane I’m supposed to be in and I stay there.  I only change lanes a couple times in the whole video.

Pay attention and you’ll see the anti-abortion protesters across from Freeport hospital.  You’ll also notice landmarks such as Tim Horton’s (see how many you can spot) and the striking Grand River bridge.  Mostly you’ll be annoyed at the tail lights and other drivers.  Get a coffee.  (This video has been sped up 2.5 times to match the length of the song.)  Enjoy the drive!

 

REVIEW: Max the Axe – Bodies of Water (1995 cassette)

MAX THE AXE – Bodies of Water (1995 independant cassette)

This has to be one of the rarest items I own.  I have acquired the only remaining cassette copy of the first Max the Axe release, a five song tape called Bodies of Water.  In a rare move, the cassette had the bonus track rather than the CD.  Back in 1995, Max the Axe didn’t have a drummer so the drums on this release are programmed.  That lends it a streetwise but quaint mid-90s nostalgia.

Opening intensely with “Hard Drive”, Max the Axe’s music defies genres from the first track.  Heavy sludge riffs, flute, saxophone, a keyboard orchestra!  Lead vocals on this track by Pam Hammond leap beyond expectation as she bellows powerfully over the complex track.  You get more sax (courtesy Rockin’ Randy Harrison) on “Where’s Pablo?” featuring Mickey Straight on lead vocals.  This has a cool, dirty street vibe groove.

The  cassette bonus track “Guns To Iran” is dead center, and features “Max the Swinging Axe” on distorted lead vocals.  Pure metal on electronic steroids.  I’m immediately reminded of “Manic Mechanic” by ZZ Top, but a thrash metal version.

“I’m Glad Now” has another singer, Tim Rolland, and a completely different vibe.  Straight noctural, memorable melodic hard rock with a growly singer.  But then the screamer “Fair Ophelia” ends the cassette on a seriously heavy note.  Pam Hammond and Max the Axe return on vocals, assaulting the ear with aggressive heaviness.  Max does the metal grunting while Hammond sings in classic screamin’ metal style.

This is good stuff and surprisingly well preserved 25 years later.  Max’s sharp jabs of guitar solo adrenaline still rock the speakers with intended impact.  Maybe the Axe will remaster and reissue his early tunes so the rest of you can hear them too.

4/5 stars