Be skeptical. It’s okay. My goodness, when Witch Cross last released and album, world maps looked quite a bit different than they do today! Reformed with Kevin Moore who handles live vocals for the mighty Saxon, Witch Cross has received the auspices of stalwart label Hells Headbangers with their legendary “Fit For Fight” album released on just about any format imaginable and “All That’s Fit For Fighting” massive box set featuring demo material and a live DVD. So, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the return of Hong Kong to Chinese control and the overthrow of Gadhafi, what does Witch Cross have to offer us now?
Certainly, as many other bands that have come out of the woodwork and have stumbled painfully (and shall remain nameless here out of respect), it’s expected to have trepidations here. Do they disappoint? Well the answer is a resounding, wholehearted HELL NO! Back in full force, Witch Cross floor us with an album that seems almost a natural progression for any band, let alone one that was on ice for so long. While you might here such trite compartmentalizing for Fit For Fight as “a cross between Def Leppard and Mercyful Fate” (I guess any semi-high pitched vocals immediately default to “Sounds like Mercyful Fate” just out of convenience), that isn’t the case with Axe To Grind. More varied, more polished, and certainly more stylized than their previous work, tracks like “Ride With the Wind”, “Metal Nation” and the odd “Chelsea 100” with its mechanized vocals stick out. The title track comes in at under three minutes as an instrumental speed boogie and the rest delivers a complete package laden with headbanging goodness and no castrato vocals like Mercyful Fate (likened to original singer Alex “Savage” Nyborg Madsen anyway) nor any pusillanimous radio ballads a la Def Leppard. Thank hell Witch Cross hasn’t reinvented the wheel, simply reinvented themselves.
It’s definitely time to celebrate. Sure, there is a great amount of traditional metal out these days even without much radio or MTV support (and I happen to see both as a good thing, as this is underground art that’s better off not being exploited for profit!), and Witch Cross, even with an entire generation gap, fit this mold perfectly. Check any doubts you happen to have at the door, for without a doubt, out of the ashes they have come to conquer!