1983’s Nemesis was the fourth album from melodic rockers Axe, and came hot on the heels of their breakthrough hit Offering.
It’s always a bit tricky to pin down Axe’s sound. They’re a pretty straightforward melodic rock band along the lines of April Wine, but with a heavy streak as well as a flair for radio-friendly rock anthems. There’s no real “Rock n’ Roll Party in the Streets” moment on Nemesis, but songs like “Girls, Girls, Girls” and the Seger knock-off “Keep Playing that Rock n’ Roll” come close. There’s also a southern rock vibe to Nemesis, which probably explains why Bobby Barth did so well when he went on to join Blackfoot.
Nemesis is just an all-around enjoyable melodic rock album, with plenty of great songs and not much in the way of filler. If you’re an 80’s rock fan, Nemesis is definitely an album you’ll want to check out, especially now that it is officially available on CD. Unfortunately, guitarist Michael Osbourne was killed in a car accident (that also injured Bobby Barth) soon after Nemesis’s release, effectively ending Axe’s career. It would take another 14 years before they released another album.
NOTE: Wounded Bird reissued Nemesis in 2003. It’s the first time the album has been officially released on CD. My understanding is that the Wounded Bird reissues have not been digitally remastered, but it sure sounds like they’ve done some clean up work on this album. Another plus is that they’ve included the song “Midnight Drives Me Mad” which was originally exclusive to the cassette version of Nemesis. They reissued 1982’s Offering as well. Now if only they could get their hands on the long out of print Axe and Living on the Edge.