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Lizzy Borden - My Midnight Things Award winner

Lizzy Borden
My Midnight Things
by Chris Hawkins at 24 June 2018, 5:35 AM

Back in 1988 as a young headbanger, I was in a constant, never-ending search for new Metal to permeate my impressionable ears.  A vivid memory I have was being in a local department store with my grandmother and despite having only five dollars, I was determined to purchase something new on cassette to expand my musical horizons during the lonely, hot summer.  I came across one of the many compilations that filled the shelves in those days which was entitled "Metal Meltdown".  I'd like to think I still have this cassette in a box somewhere for it introduced me to so many good bands:  W.A.S.P., ACCEPT, and a band out of L.A. that had a darkly sophisticated take on Heavy Metal, LIZZY BORDEN.  Hearing "Me Against the World" for the first time with its tenaciously biting approach began a long-lasting relationship with the band as a dedicated fan.  Let it be known that LIZZY BORDEN is NOT a Glam band!  First, any doubters should commence to listen to the band's debut EP, "Give 'Em the Axe," and will immediately notice an undeniably heavy, hungry band for 1984, one that rivals the sound of the legions of NWOTHM bands that have recently popped up across the musical landscape and has more to do with Blackie Lawless's W.A.S.P. than MOTLEY CRUE or RATT.

Like the millions of other LIZZY BORDEN fans, I've had an insatiable hunger for new material from the band since the brilliant 2007 album, "Appointment with Death".  Thankfully, the wait is over.  "My Midnight Things" is an album devoid of all the silliness that accompanies most bands' comeback albums.  This is not one!  Though it has been eleven years, this album does not sound like a release in order for some washed-up artist to try and test the waters again to determine his relevancy.  Lizzy has managed to survey his past work while keeping the pulse of the modern scene (though not being dictated by it) to effectively create another album rivaling his greatest works and filled with his timeless storytelling.

Huge guitar melodies open the ceremonies with the title track.  The song is characterized by a simple riff, one that is repeated rhythmically throughout the verse with keyboard ambience.  "I want you to see me for what I am to believe that I can be your everything."  The verse outlines the intent behind the song, a pointed obsession that burns deep within.  The song is simply one of the absolute catchiest, most infectious songs I've heard in a long, long time.  This showcases the songwriting talents of a true Metal warrior who has paid his dues and delivers with a tasteful, hummable, and striking sensibility.  The chorus erupts to a memorable, modern sound which takes the song to the next level.  A true treat is the last verse as it is sung over a pulsing, distorted bass providing the musical basis.  The last scream in the song is one to make even KING DIAMOND proud.  The second track, "Obsessed with You" is another track helped out by simple, fist-pumping riffs.  A side of Lizzy's vocals is showcased that I've never heard:  a full, resonant baritone that parallels the greatest moments of one Geoff Tate.

"Long May They Haunt Us," the third track, has a main melody aided by a classic Rock 'N Roll vibe, the same vibe as from The Misfits' "Some Kind of Hate" or The Ramones' "The KKK Took My Baby Away".  The chorus, however, diverts to a sublimely catchy exercise in honor of those we have all lost:  long may they haunt us!  The sixth track, "The Perfect Poison," has its own unique vibe starting with the effects-driven vocals that begin the song.  It has a very controlled feeling like all of the excitement for the huge chorus is successfully held below the consciousness of the musical moment.  The fact that Lizzy approached the recording process in the same manner as THE BEATLES or QUEEN is truly apparent throughout "My Midnight Things," and apparently so in the ninth track's reprisal of the title track.  It obviously revisits the first track, but simply contains just vocals and keyboards.  At times, one thinks of QUEEN due to the way the vocals are harmonized and multi-tracked.  It's a different perspective of the intent behind what was such a heavy lead track that is now a solemn catharsis of the soul, beautifully written, carefully assembled, and expertly executed as it illuminates a larger perspective of meaning behind the two tracks.

Anyone not subscribing to the fact that LIZZY BORDEN is a supreme vocal talent need only listen to this to have a change of mind.  While it seems redundant due to the band bearing his name, Lizzy is the star.  His vocals perform melody and harmony with an intensity rivalled by few.  He truly does have an impressive range, a skill akin to the diversity of a guitar player, for example, like Steve Vai for Borden was recorded in 1989 as having a seven-octave vocal range, something made triumphantly apparent on this record.

The songwriting is like a master class from a teacher who could believably have had numerous number one records.  In reality, it's a testament to the unjust nature of a domestic music industry that is prejudiced by anything BUT talent!  Lizzy is not just some bobblehead singer performing what's written for him but has written everything and performed almost everything within this career-topping opus.  Now is the perfect time to recant your sins and allow LIZZY BORDEN to come into your heart and fill it with glorious, pounding, furious, and emotional songs to reside there ad infinitum.  "My Midnight Things" would be a success based upon the impressive energy behind the songs, but it is the level of ingenuity, the fresh take on the old craft, that is truly impressive.  These are songs that have taken root and have lived in my brain for the past few weeks, and I've found myself listening to this record more for pleasure than to complete this article.  I suppose there could be no better testament.  Just like thirty years ago, LIZZY BORDEN has released an album that must be labelled as essential summer listening!

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. My Midnight Things
2. Obsessed With You
3. Long May They Haunt Us
4. The Scar Across My Heart
5. A Stranger to Love
6. The Perfect Poison
7. Run Away With Me
8. Our Love is God
9. My Midnight Things (Reprise)
10. We Belong to the Shadows
Lineup:
Lizzy Borden – Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Keyboards
Joey Scott – Drums
Marliese Quance Mildenberger – Keyboards
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
     


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Edited 17 July 2018
 

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