alt="Be-Bop Deluxe - Axe Victim (1974, Harvest Records) COVER"

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Be-Bop Deluxe – Axe Victim

Album | 06/1974 | Harvest Records
43:20 | 10 tracks | Vinyl/CD/Digital
Glam Rock / Blues Rock
Wakefield, England

They never played Be-Bop

In 1972, Be-Bop Deluxe were formed in West Yorkshire. The quartet consisting of Nicholas Chatterton-Dew, Robert Bryan, Ian Parkin, Richard Brown and Bill Nelson played their very British version of Blues Rock in the local pubs. They may have surprised some attendants of the bars since the bad never played Be-Bop. By 1974, founding member Richard Brown had already left the band, and the remaining quartet released their first longplayer Axe Victim.

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The Bowie Comparison

The early Be-Bop Deluxe played progressive and catchy Blues Rock. Their style was often referred to as Glam Rock, and in the Axe Victim phase, they were compared to the great David Bowie. Now first of all, there is nothing wrong about that. Axe Victim does indeed resemble some of David Bowie’s late-60s and early-70s works. Furthermore, he is a legend. But Bill Nelson was very unhappy about the reference to the star from London. And thus, Axe Victim is a unique work since all of the later Be-Bop Deluxe releases sounded a lot more progressive, experimental, and unconventional.

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The Beginning and the End

Hence, Be-Bop Deluxe needed to be re-structured, and apart from band leader Bill Nelson everyone left. Nevertheless, the only album recorded in original line-up deserves some appreciation. Yes, Axe Victim has plenty catchy themes and patterns. When it comes to guitar play and song structures there are still many gems hidden in this ten-track release. Bill Nelson often navigates the rest of the band through rough shores with his powerful guitar soli, and he does not only command the boat but also the tide. Tempo and mood of Axe Victim are dependent on Nelson’s swift fingers. While the instrumentals are interesting for fans of early-day Prog and Heavy Metal, the vocal passages indeed can hardly be talked about without referring to David Bowie or Freddy Mercury. And thus, the first Be-Bop Deluxe album is located somewhere between theatralic rock, opera, and the dawn of Heavy Metal.
6/10 Mangoes

Next week in this series:

Pungent StenchAmpeauty (13/09/2004 | Nuclear Blast)

We will dance again

Mia Schem

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