Borden, Lizzy - Appointment with death 4/5

Reviewed: 12-21-07


1. Abnormal
2. Appointment with death
3. Live forever
4. Bloody tears
5. The death of love
6. Tomorrow never comes
7. Under your skin
8. Perfect world (I don't wanna live)
9. Somethin's crawlin
10. We are the only ones
11. The darker side

Lizzy Borden’s latest return is a worthy continuation of his mighty melodic metal legacy. You can tell Lizzy is truly enthused and passionate about some opportunity for a resurgence of classic metal which was forgotten by labels completely in the 90s, and the chance for new fans to realize this glory.

Lizzy Borden still seems to me to be one of metal’s underrated masters of past and present. While they might have been best known for “outrageous” live shows involving a beautiful woman, a bloody axe, and Santa Claus, that characterization (which Lizzy and the band certainly embraced) is almost unfair in my eyes, because the music they produced in the mid-80s was so magnificent and powerful. Part of the triumvirate that Metal Blade unleashed at that time, along with Omen and Fates Warning (with the first 3 CDs from each of those bands representing one of the greatest epochs of metal ever), Lizzy Borden’s early works featured Lizzy’s stunning vocals, which combined the epic majesty of a Geoff Tate, mixed with the sardonic sneer of Alice Cooper, and a driving dual guitar attack which was the epitome of glory for those that liked straightforward metal in the vein of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. And while there was the occasional raunchy subject matter (and even those were well written), Lizzy’s lyrics were usually terribly powerful, whether it was the awesome existential translation of Blade Runner in “Wake up (Time to die)”, or more frequently, anthems of isolation like “Menace to society” and “Outcase”, which, I must admit, gave me tremendous comfort and strength in those difficult years of high school and college where you do feel like it’s you against the world, if you choose not to go along with the herd.

After an 11-year hiatus following 'Master of disguise', Lizzy returned with a surprisingly strong effort in 'Deal with the devil', which featured classic Lizzy at its best, mixed with more eclectic songs as well. I’m shocked to realize it’s been 7 years since that CD, when Lizzy again surprised me with a new release in 'Appointment with death'. It’s another awesome CD in the Lizzy legacy, fitting well and equally with its 3 immediate predecessors. Its concept is dealing with all aspects of death, not at all a stranger to the Lizzy Borden lexicon, but perhaps even more meaningful after long time guitarist Alex Nelson died since the last CD was recorded. Like before, the lyrics cover a breadth of emotion and thought related to this omnipresent visitor with an unknown appointment.

The CD starts out in strong, classic power metal anthems in both “Abnormal” and the title track, which are fast, driving, and in the mold of the “There will be blood tonight” from 'Deal with the devil'. “Under your skin” sounds incredibly like classic 80s Alice Cooper, not surprising from Lizzy, and “Somethin’s crawlin” does a bit as well, while the rest of the CD captures the same type of varied songs Lizzy was putting on 'Visual lies' and his other CDs. The consistency is that both the sound and songwriting throughout are lush and melodic. Somewhat surprising is how almost all the vocal lines have multiple layers, not just in the choruses but in most of the verses as well. While Ira Black is the only “real” guitarist from the band, he does an exceptional job displaying tight, melodic chops and lines, plus he is joined by a horde of guests, including such luminaries as George Lynch and Dave Meniketti.

Simply put, those who enjoyed the last 3 Lizzy Borden CDs (which, shockingly, span a period of 20 years) should run to the store to pick this up, and newer fans who want a dose of what true, unassuming, yet utterly engaging “American metal” is all about should seriously think about picking this up as well.




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