Formed in 1976 under the quite brilliant name of Hobbit, Kick Axe’s early career trajectory finally took off when they linked up with Spencer Proffer, who had struck heavy metal gold as producer of Quiet Riot’s Metal Health. Already signed to CBS Canada, signing to Proffer’s Pasha label for the US gave them access to Epic Records, though this apparent advantage would soon prove to be a mirage.
Under Proffer’s guidance came 1984’s singularly heavy debut Vices (6⁄10) and 1985’s Welcome To The Club (6⁄10), on which they were steered in a more mainstream direction by Pasha staff writer Randy Bishop. Commercial failures due to Epic’s indifference, if they achieved anything, it was to demonstrate just how talented the band were, a fact even the now-dated, reverb-heavy production jobs couldn’t hide.
Come 1986’s Rock The World (7⁄10), the band had parted ways with Proffer to produce themselves and created their most coherent album of the 80s, with the title track, Red Line and The Dark Crusade highlights of a quality effort – which sadly sold not much at all, precipitating their split in 1988.
Now reunited and still going strong, this trio of albums nevertheless best represent how Kick Axe brought a touch of class to 80s Canadian metal.