Don’t let the cover fool you, Nemesis is not a heavy album. And don’t let the name Axe fool you, because Axe was not a heavy band. In fact, Axe kind of resided in no man’s land — a nebulous region between legitimate hard rock and commercial radio rock. Despite their smooth and harmless approach, Axe often found themselves touring with metal acts like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. It’s as if the industry couldn’t quite figure out how to classify Axe. Nemesis was the final album of Axe’s original eighties run (one that saw them tour with Motley Crue, would you believe). Unfortunately, the death of guitarist Micheal Osbourne in 1984 derailed the band soon thereafter.
The Nemesis LP is kind of a microcosm of Axe’s confused persona, one that comes in like a lion with the heavy(-ish) Heat In The Street and goes out like a lamb with the sleepy Masquerade. As for Heat In The Street, the vocals could be considered southern rock, yet the riffage implies heavy metal, and the keyboards scream AOR. (Again, the Axe enigma.) I think the lesson to be learned is this; forget about trying to figure Axe out and just enjoy the ride. And a breezy ride on a warm Sunday morning it is. My score: B-