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Lizzy Borden: Best of Lizzy Borden, Vol. 2

Named for the main protagonist in a notorious axe murder case of the 1890’s, Los Angeles metallers Lizzy Borden (also the stage name taken by their frontman) were initially active in the mid to late eighties, releasing four albums which never quite moved them beyond cult status, although I remember the last of these, 1989’s Master of Disguise, getting quite a bit of coverage, certainly in the UK metal press. Style-wise you could call the band a cross between more traditional heavy metal and the tougher side of the commercial hard rock popular in the period; although certainly theatrical and with some glam overtones, the band veer closer to say early 80’s Twisted Sister or mid-eighties Alice Cooper than the likes of Poison.

Having sat out the nineties, the band re-appeared in 2000 with Deal With The Devil. They have not exactly been prolific since then, with only two further albums to their credit since 2007’s Appointment With Death and, after another long wait, 2018’s My Midnight Things. It is from these three albums that all but two of these fourteen tracks on Best of… Vol. 2 are culled from, with a couple of newly recorded covers as the bait for Lizzy completists.

The core of the band now seems to be Lizzy himself and brother Joey Scott Harges on drums, with bassist Marten Anderssen with the band since 2006 (although he isn’t credited on My Midnight Things). Stylistically, the core of the band’s sound remains consistent with the 80’s; unsurprisingly there’s a more modern edge to the sound, and influences from diverse genres such as goth, industrial, nu-metal and US-style commercial punk rock (of the Green Day variety), but it never sounds like bandwagon jumping - if you liked the band in the eighties you won’t be scared off by the present version. Despite there being eighteen years difference between some of these songs they are fairly consistent sound-wise which makes it quite a smooth-flowing album. I would say the lead guitar work is more noticeable in tracks from Appointment With Death, presumably due to well-travelled guitarist Ira Black, as well as a guesting George Lynch, being on board. More inventive guitar work is perhaps missing a little from the other selections.

One thing to mention is Lizzy Borden’s voice, he has a powerful delivery and a deep timbre to his voice, not dissimilar to late eighties/ early nineties Geoff Tate, with an impressive range that doesn’t seem to have noticeably reduced over the years. It’s on good show in the opening “My Midnight Things”, which manages to combine some great twin-guitar work, a goth/ darkwave feel to some of the verses and an anthemic chorus that rattles around your head for days. Elsewhere, “Long May They Haunt Us” is quite a melodramatic track with overtones of Love-era The Cult; “Under Your Skin” is like something Alice Cooper could have come up with around the time of Trash, whilst “There Will Be Blood” has more of an old school vibe, and could almost be classic-era Ozzy Osbourne (musically, not vocally - no-one else sounds like Ozzy!). “We Only Come Out At Night”, meanwhile, has an industrial metal stomp to it that brings comparison to Rammstein.

Unfortunately there are a number of tracks which don’t have such a strong impact-you wonder if this is down to imperfect track selection, or indicative of the overall quality of their parent albums. Of the two new (cover) tracks, “Pet Sematary” is a version of the (already well covered) Ramones track from 1989; it transposes the original to a more glossy hard rock context and obviously the vocals are significantly different, but not sure it really adds anything else. “Burnin’ For You” is a take on the Blue Oyster Cult classic, and is enjoyable but this time is quite close to the original, to the extent that I’m not sure of the point of covering it.

Overall, this is a good introduction to Lizzy Borden’s fairly sparse recent catalogue; although the standard of songs does go through peaks and troughs it remains listenable and enjoyable throughout and shows that the band still have something to offer.

1.My Midnight Things
2.Long May They Haunt Us
3.Tomorrow Never Comes
4.Obsessed With You
5.(This Ain’t) The Summer Of Love
6.Under Your Skin
7.Lovin’ You Is Murder
8.The Scar Across My Heart
9.There Will Be Blood Tonight
10.We Only Come Out At Night
12.Live Forever
13.Pet Semetary
14.Burnin’ For You

Added: November 29th 2020
Reviewer: Tom De Val
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 710
Language: english

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