Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

September 26, 2011

Lizzy Borden ~ Master Of Disguise

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: shock rock, hard rock, heavy metal
Label: Metal Blade
Year: 1989
Home: Los Angeles, California

Members: Lizzy Borden ~ vocals
Joey Scott ~ drums
Elliot Soloman ~ keyboards/horn
William Kidd ~ keyboards
Mike Razzatti, David Michael Phillips, Ronnie Jude ~ guitar
Brian Perry, Mike Davis ~ bass

Additional: Timothy Taylor, Jacques Voymant, Brian Boyle, John Chudoba, Jerry Moore, Darren Solomon ~ horn
Tim Stithem ~ drums

Guest: Joey Vera ~ bass

Lizzy, the singer not the band, has shined at his creative best when constructing concept albums versus mish-mash rock song collections. Lizzy Borden, the band not the singer, debuted with some good glam metal songs & a decent if not a bit comical & gimmicky image in the tradition of Alice Cooper but soon floundered on follow-up releases with poor song-writing that did little for Lizzy's often tinny vocals. Lizzy Borden soon disbanded only to reform a decade later to record the greatly improved Deal With The Devil only to find a career climax with the follow-up Appointment With Death. Appointment With Death was a concept album that brought in lots of keyboards, raging metal or glam, a new costumed image & songs interlaced with the theme of death. But, before this unexpected high, just after breaking up the band Lizzy released a solo album named, with some self-parody, Master Of Disguise. Though, with the same drummer, Lizzy's real life brother Joey Scott Harges, & released under the name of Lizzy Borden, but now referring exclusively to the singer not the band, many may not know that this was a solo album ... much in the same way that people may not have known that there was a difference between Alice Cooper, the band, & Alice Cooper, the solo artist. But, there's definetly a musical difference. Like the later Appointment With Death, Master Of Disguise is soaring above what came before. Unlike Appointment With Death it is a true rock opera while the later is a collection of songs sharing the same theme. Songs float from one to another with sound effect & symphonic bridges much as as many bands has done in the 60's/70's or as Judas Priest would later do on their operatic concept album Nostradamus, but Lizzy pulls back the reigns on the meandering over-indulgence that hurt Nostradamus & desire for concept over songs. Beyond just the segueways between songs Master Of Disguise demonstrates the largest range of music & experimentation on any album penned by Lizzy, even including his other band Starwood in the mix, including traditional hard rockers, acoustic guitar & piano ballads, non-synthesized horn sections, orchestral bridges, & chorused vocals. The normally quasi-theatrical vocals of Lizzy, against both rock & symphonic backgrounds, finds a perfect home here where everything clicks, uplifting the weaker songs in the process. But, there really aren't any weak songs just ones that are less memorable than others or might feel more like bridges in the story than completed songs. Though, considering this against past Lizzy Borden albums one might wonder if it's not really an experiment in failure or an experiment in throwing everything one can think of into a pot & stirring like a rock'n'roll madmen. The only failure would be in not enjoying the result. Most hard rock albums fail at pulling off the concept album approach, as the format of the music often doesn't allow enough variety or at best too much pomposity. Lizzy is one of the success stories. Though, some might say differently based on low sales at the time, but a lot of that is more a reflection of the year of release & Lizzy Borden's reputation not the album itself. It's too bad that Lizzy Borden was never bigger as this album should go down in history with far more accolades than it has received. Inspired by Phantom of the Opera this is a great starting point to discover Lizzy Borden, though it's a bumby ride as one moves to other albums. "Love Is A Crime", "Be One Of Us", "Psychodrama" & "We Got The Power" would all go on to be included in concerts as fan favorites in the decades to come.

1 comment:

  1. Such an underated band,Glad you put the spotlight on them.