Do you remember Lizzy Borden, the Los Angeles based glam/shock-rock/metal band? Maybe not. They surfaced about the same time as Motley Crue and their album 'Shout At The Devil.' In one sense they were retro for at times they were grasping at Alice Cooper and the glam rockers of the Seventies as well as metal stalwarts, Black Sabbath. Yet, on the other hand, the were forward thinking adding doses of NWOBHM to their music including influences from Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Though impressive back in the day, they never achieved commercial success. Frankly, there was a helluva lot of stuff going on back in the mid-Eighties. Lizzy Borden could easily be overlooked. Do not overlook them today. We haven't heard anything new from them since 2000's 'Deal with the Devil,' a worthy but boring adventure into past accomplishments. With 'Appointment With Death,' Lizzy Borden resurfaces with new energy and new power thanks to great songs and some very special guests.
Lead singer and band namesake has never sounded better. Is this the sum of age and experience or merely sophisticated production technique. I think it's the former or I at least I hope so. Lizzy is the same but different and better. And the rest the band is simply incredible: tight, skilled, versatile, and brilliant. In other words, I'm running out of adjectives here. This album rocks with great heavy metal, fresh and vibrant even as they rely on their past being helped by George Lynch (Lynch Mob, et al) and Dave Meniketti (Y&T). Yet they are again forward thinking adding the young guitar work of Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal) and Cory Beaulieu (Trivium).
Pretty much everything about this album kills. However, I want to focus on the songs featuring the guests. This is not to say that Ira Black, Adam Cameron and the others are not accomplished guitarists. Rather, they're very good and thrilling when they play. Yet adding Lynch and Meniketti was an excellent oracle to the past. Lynch appears on 'Tomorrow Never Comes' and Meniketti on 'The Darker Side.' They simply have the bravado and licks to play great melodic metal.
More importantly, I want to focus on the contributions of youngsters, Erik Rutan ('Somethinn's Crawling')and Cory Beaulieu ('Abnormal'). Frankly, the music of Hate Eternal and Trivium is boring and derivative of current American metal. Hate Eternal is simply more of the same: relentless and meaningless hardcore or grindcore or deathcore or whatever you want to call their so-called metal. And Trivium, though at times interesting and possibly creative, is mostly a cacophony of instruments looking for a purpose, a groove, and, if you're lucky, a decent melody. So, here's my point: when it comes right down to it, both Rutan and Beaulieu can actually play lead guitar. Holy shit, can it be true. I think so. Unfortunately, both have succumbed to the disappointing state of commercial American metal. Give it up guys! Play guitar like it was meant to played with clarity, inspiration and thrill.
I do not apologize for the preceding paragraph: these things need to be said about modern American metal. Sure, there's some interesting things going on, yet most have missed the true heart of metal: melody belongs in metal; plain and simple. Lizzy Borden gets it. Mainstream American metal (with some exceptions) does not. Now, I'll get off my soap box.
As for my favorite songs, there are too many to mention. My choices are: 'Abnormal', 'Appointment With Death,' 'The Death Of Love,' 'Perfect World' and the concluding number 'The Darker Side:' Dave Meniketti simply nails the guitar solo, and Borden and the rest of the band have never sounded better. Wow!
I was pleased with 'Appointment With Death.' This is great (and true) American metal. Lizzy Borden should raise their heads high and stand tall: this is quite an accomplishment. This is the best thing they have ever done. Highly recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
If you don't remember Lizzy Borden, then now's the time to get reacquainted with some great melodic heavy metal. Lizzy and band have never sounded better thanks to the participation by some great guest musicians, both old and new (read the review). Buy it, pop it in your CD player, and crank it up: this is true American metal!
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