Lizzy Borden

Picture of Lizzy Borden

Visual Lies

Lizzy Border - Visual Lies ©1987 Enigma/Metal Blade
1. Me Against the World
2. Shock
3. Outcast
4. Den of Thieves
5. Visual Lies
6. Eyes of a Stranger
7. Lord of the Flies
8. Voyeur (I'm Watching You)
9. Visions

For a band that specialized in over the top, shock value tactics, Lizzy Borden is one of those 80s entities that generally wandered somewhat aimlessly, just barely avoiding being a hapless glam metal act. Visual Lies was the band's third full length record (although they had also released a live album and a smattering of EPs) and it does very little to distinguish itself amongst the rest of the clutter of 80s hard rock and metal. Lizzy Borden might have thought they were pushing the envelope but even the festering, rotting corpse of Alice Cooper's career had more validity with shock value tacts around that point. If one takes Lizzy Borden's music and judges it purely on its own merits without ever seeing a single promo photo of the band attempting to terrify fourteen year old boys and girls, no doubt it'd be hard to see anything particularly special about this album. The band occasionally wrote a good, solid rock song, such as "Lord of the Flies", but in general this is a rather mediocre, generic release of color-by-numbers hard rock.

It's also quite obvious that the music comes across as very dated. There is no way even a casual listener won't immediately identify the 80s characteristics and probably not in a positive way, either. A glance at the song titles reveals typical subject matter. Lizzy Borden has "Eyes of a Stranger", but so did Geoff Tate in 1988 with far more appealing results. Not to be outdone by Tate's obsession with stalking (hear "Gonna Get Close To You" by Queensryche from Rage For Order for some creepy Restraining Order Music), Lizzy suggests he is a "Voyeur (I'm Watching You)", which amps up the creepy value because of just how goofy he looked back in those days. And always the rebel, he tells us that it's "Me Against the World", but probably feels that way due to album sales never quite reaching that of many of his contemporaries.

Lizzy Borden is a pretty easy target for derision today, although they did manage to follow up this album with a rather good one (1989's Master of Disguise). Visual Lies isn't as terrible as many releases of the era, but it's still one of those things that is utterly dated, moldy and hard to picture being something anyone would sit down to give a serious listen in the year 2010.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2010

Back to top 

Master Of Disguise

Lizzy Borden - Master Of Disguise ©1989 Metal Blade
1. Master Of Disguise
2. One False Move
3. Love Is A Crime
4. Sins Of The Flesh
5. Phantoms
6. Never Too Young
7. Be One Of Us
8. Psychodrama
9. Waiting In The Wings
10. Roll Over And Play Dead
11. Under The Rose
12. We Got The Power

Unlike other metal bands who ditched their makeup, Lizzy Borden actually became more serious and legitimate when he cast away some of his early gimmicks for 1989's Master of Disguise. Ironically, his best album to date also was his last for over a decade due to record label strife and most likely a lack of public interest in theatrical metal during the decade of the 90s. Nevertheless, Master of Disguise was a powerful statement to the world and a very fine chapter to his legacy during the 80s.

Having a sort of Phantom of the Opera feel, the provocative Master of Disguise is an extremely well-conceived and executed concept record, using a wide array of sound elements, from orchestration to soundtrack style interludes between songs. Most importantly, the dozen songs here are well written and extremely memorable. The sound is prime 80s metal, rising above glam schmaltz and existing in the classic world where riffs where meant to be arena sized and cause fists to spontaneously pump in the air. The anthemic nature of "Master of Disguise", "Love Is a Crime", "Phantoms" and "Psychodrama" help immensely in selling this album to listeners. Lizzy Borden also offers somber, acoustic balladry in "Under the Rose" or the ominous "One False Move". He also croons to piano in "Never Too Young". Orchestration works its way into the title track and "Waiting in the Wings". The result is a very listenable record that should have found wide appeal to the metal crowd of the 80s who grew up with the idea of larger-than-life music and image.

It's a shame Lizzy's career plummetted out of sight right after this album's release, since it was his strongest and most intelligent to date. Do yourself a favor and check this one out if you are curious about one of the more forgotten gems of the late 80s.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/2001

Back to top