Published on January 14th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Kick Axe: Welcome to the Club
1985’s Welcome to the Club was the second album from too often overlooked Canadian hard rockers Kick Axe, one of the more unfairly overlooked hard rock bands from that era. Like Helix and Coney Hatch, Kick Axe was part of a very strong Canadian hard rock scene.
Welcome to the Club came just one year after the band’s debut (1984’s Vices), so it has a very similar sound to that album, bringing melodic hard rock and heavy metal elements together. The label pushed hard for Kick Axe to have a more commercial sound, so harder-edged metal songs like “Comin’ After You” and “Hellraisers” are side-by-side with party rockers “Feels Good – Don’t Stop” and the title track. It all comes together really well though, with razor-sharp twin lead guitars, George Criston’s powerful vocals and a somewhat quirky production. There’s even a cover of the Beatles’ classic “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which (appropriately) features backing vocals by Canadian colleagues like Lee Aaron and Rik Emmett, among others.
As good as Vices was (and it was a kick, er, axe debut), Welcome to the Club is even better overall. Kick Axe combined the best parts of the mid ‘80s heavy metal and commercial rock sounds, and the result is an album that is still so much fun to sink your teeth into 30+ years later. It’s a mandatory album for fans of the Canadian hard rock bands and fans of ‘80s hard rock in general, especially now that it has been reissued.
Reissue Notes: Welcome to the Club has seen a couple of different reissues over the years, but we got the definitive version this year thanks to the reissue experts at the Rock Candy label. Their reissue of Welcome to the Club features brand new digital remastering that sounds absolutely fantastic. There are no bonus tracks, but it does have a deluxe booklet loaded with vintage photos and a very detailed band history by Classic Rock scribe Malcolm Dome. It’s a really nicely put-together reissue overall.
Summary: Great album, great reissue.