Battleaxe: Power From The Universe

Careful with that ’Axe...

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It’s amazing how so many bands who these days purport to be New Wave Of British Heavy Metal legends actually made little or no impact on the scene at the time. Sunderland’s Battleaxe are a case in point. This, their second album, was originally released at the arse-end of the NWOBHM, in 1984.

The impending onslaught of hair metal, thrash and grunge (grunge?!) ‘made it impossible for Battleaxe to continue’, the sleevenotes claim. The UK music press, which only wrote about London bands, is also blamed for the split. Somehow, they must’ve missed our support of Vardis (Wakefield), Jaguar (Bristol), Silverwing (Macclesfield), Mythra (South Shields) et al.

While the best of the NWOBHM was groundbreaking with its breakneck speed and punked-up aggression, Battleaxe were plodding, unimaginative and heavily indebted to Judas Priest. There was no reason to buy Power From The Universe in ’84 when Priest had just put out the infinitely superior Defenders Of The Faith.

The annoying thing is that modern-day fans who are discovering the NWOBHM for the first time could be hoodwinked into thinking this ‘Special 30th Anniversary Edition’ is a landmark release, when in fact their money would be better spent buying a signed Sledgehammer photo on eBay. Battleaxe, meanwhile, have of course re-formed./o:p

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.