One of so many unsung heroes of an entire era not just a musical movement Geddes Axe were formed in Sheffield, South Yorkshire motherland of Def Leppard (while Saxon are from nearby Barnsley, also in South Yorkshire) in 1979. These (local heroes and) Heavy Metal giants were more than obvious both great inspiration for the young band that recorded its first 7” single in 1980 entitled “Return Of The Gods” which was released a year later via A.C.S. Records. Geddes Axe’s sophomore 7” single came in 1982. Entitled “Sharpen Your Wits” it was cut by Steel City Records. After many live gigs as they also did after their first release created a fan base around them and a good reputation among NWOBHM aficionados. So finally in 1983 they signed a contract with a bigger label. Bullet Records released “Escape From New York” 12” EP the very same year in 1982. No one knew at the time that their 3rd effort would be their finest moment that would turn to be their last one too. There was a lineup change at the time as Tony Rose had been joining the band replacing their first singer Andy Millard. As they were feeling more comfortable in the studio and more confident after the several live concerts all these 3 years on stage Geddes Axe were ready to become huge. They had the songs, the fresh air of the new member, a good label behind them and eventually the thirst to succeed. Unfortunately their label wasn’t sharing the same dream…as they never understood the potential and the dynamic of the quintet after some months the band split up as they were bleeding financially while its members were losing the will to continue. “Escape from New York” probably inspired by the famous John Carpenter’s science fiction action film with Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef and Ernest Borgnine (1981) is a massive straightforward song that flirts with epic Heavy Metal. Still a very catchy tune that its rhythm is addictive and as the chorus is simple it sticks to your mind and it actually force you to sing it all along for hours! Geddes Axe always had a melodic side close enough to Tygers of Pang Tang or later Witchfynde’s albums and “The Day the Wells Ran Dry” is a fine example of it.
The 3rd and last one is an up-tempo song with great riffs, a variety of guitar tones and a strange for the band title “666” that doesn’t place them next to Venom or something but shows clearly how bands were thinking at the time if you considered Quartz, Cloven Hoof and so many more that were playing the evil, Satan meets rock n roll card so easily even though only by scratching in the surface.
Probably not so easy to find its original pressing “Escape From New York” was the perfect swan song for Geddes Axe. Many years later all of their material was gathered including the first two 7” singles, the “Escape From New York” 12” EP plus never issued demo tracks such as “When The Lights Go Out”, “Life In London”, “Into The Wilderness” and “Valley Of The Kings”, creating -a now sold out- compilation entitled “Aftermath” that High Roller Records must reissue, for a 3rd time, immediately!