Archive for melodic metal

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Lizzy Borden- Visual Lies

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

This time, there is no debate on whether “Visual Lies,” compliments of Lizzy Borden, is an EP or an LP. Nine songs covering a time of forty-one minutes gives the answer to that. Going back to reality, one of my goals when I started writing this blog was to encourage people to get out their old records and listen to them again. Okay, my main goal is to sell copies of “Rock and Roll Children,” but that’s not the point here. A great side effect of this is that it has got me to do the same. I never bought a Lizzy Borden album back in the 80s because I knew people who had their albums and play them and since they weren’t well known in the UK, I hadn’t listened to any of their music for three decades. So, you can say that I am making up for lost time.

“Visual Lies” can be broken down into three chapters. Chapter one is the first two songs which are the more commercial radio friendly tunes. Both have that radio friendly melodic vibe to it but not anywhere close to making a hard core fan think they’ve sold out. The metal is present in both of the songs. Lizzy’s vocals are straight up and there are cool guitar solos. Saying that, I do think that White Stripes ‘borrowed’ the intro off the opener, “Me Against the World.”

Chapter Two is where the band goes more power metal spanning four tracks. Even the track, “Outcast,” which is close to being a power ballad has more power than ballad. The same holds true with the melodic harmony of the backing vocals on the choruses. Sure, the melody is there but it doesn’t lose any of the power and of course, there are some great guitar solos. While “Outcast” is my pick for favourite track, the guitar solo trade off clinches it for me, no intensity is lost on the other three tracks. “Den of Thieves” brings the most power of the three as it comes close to being speed metal but all four of these tracks just totally rock!

“Visual Lies” goes progressive metal in its third and final chapter. “Lord of the Flies” is probably what Yes would have sounded like if they had gone heavy metal. The song has a great progressive melody but backed up with some great power chords. It’s probably my imagination but Lizzy does sound a little like Jon Anderson here. Even the guitar solo sounds progressive. While not as intense as “Lord of the Flies,” the remaining tracks are in the same vein. Nice progressive sounding melodies with some hard power chords and in the case of “Voyeur, I’m Watching You,” a rather flowery guitar solo.

In the months between “Terror Rising” and this album, Lizzy Borden went through changes in guitarists. It seems that Tony Matuzak only played on the EP and Alex Nelson departed as well. Two guitarists gone but only replaced by one, Joe Holmes. It’s not a catastrophe because Joe seems to fit right in with Gene Allen as they do some amazing trade offs on their solos. On another note, 1,000 80smetalman points to Armand Rosamillia and 500 to Aphoristical for the assist for identifying the accompanying vocalist on “Don’t Touch Me There” from “Terror Rising.” Singing along with Lizzy was Betsy Bitch, real name Betsy Weiss.

And here she is

Track Listing:

  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
Lizzy Borden

Lizzy Borden- lead vocals

Gene Allen- guitar

Joe Holmes- guitar

Mike Davis- bass

Joey Scott- drums

Well, I’ve made up a little for not listening to Lizzy Borden in thirty years and with these two albums, I sort of regret what I’ve been missing.

Next post: Bitch- The Bitch is Back

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Great Metal Albums of 1987: Shok Paris- Steel and Starlight

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2022 by 80smetalman

The more I travel through the metal history of 1987, the more I feel the need to thank my sister Dawn for sending me samples of great bands I might have otherwise missed. Like with Warlock, four tracks from Shok Paris’s album, “Steel and Starlight” appeared on the same tape. The difference, however, is that while Doro had already achieved great things and continues to do so, when I listen to Shok Paris, my question is: Why didn’t this band go further? After all, there must be something about why I remember them so well since the cassette they are on is with the other ones in those ammo cans in my attic.

The famous ammo cans . I thought this would be a good excuse to put this picture in the post.

To be honest, I don’t think this compilation tape is in either of those cans but in another box I had tapes in but that’s not the point. The point is those four tracks on “Steel and Starlight” blew me away so much back then and finally listening to their full album, I can see why. While it wasn’t a term back in 1987, Shok Paris would be classed as melodic metal today. Were they pioneers? If they had been more successful internationally, then I would answer “yes.”

The opening two tracks were both from Dawn’s tape and both have cool intros before going into full metal. However, while I already knew those opening tracks were good, track three, “Tokyo Rose,” convinced me that this band is for real! Vic Hix’s lead vocals sometimes sound over the top but he manages to keep it within the boundaries and of course the shredding of Ken Erb is top notch. But what really sticks out for me in this song is the rhythm guitar work, fair dues to Eric Marderwald here.

Ken’s shredding comes in more with another non-tape track, “Rocked Outta Love.” Only here, Vic does put his big toe outside the boundary on this occasion, but it doesn’t detract from the song. After that, we go back to a song which was on the tape, “Castle Walls.” I don’t remember the long progressive intro being on the tape, I hope my sister didn’t cut it out because it is done very well. Ken playing a solo along with Eric on the acoustic guitar sets things up perfectly when the song goes full metal with some more great shredding. It’s also the first track where we get to appreciate the bass from Kel Berkshire.

Drummer Jan Roll checks in on “On Your Feet” with some cool drum rolls at the beginning. This is a definite straight forward metal song which is nicely done with some more drum rolls through the song. “Falling for You” is another straight ahead metal tune but it sounds like all five band members equally contribute on it. That brings me to the tracks which has stood out for me even after thirty-five years, “Exhibit A.” However, don’t ask me to explain why I like it so much. It could be the opening lyrics:

“Its four in the morning and I wait for my case

Today is the day, I got a date with the state

They’re screaming for blood, they’re sealing my fate

Don’t kiss me goodbye because it’s never too late.

Maybe it’s the fact that Vic doesn’t try so hard to be Joe Cool Metal singer and his vocals are brilliant as they are. Then again, that was the case on the previous track. Possibly, it’s because the track picks up a little more speed than the others without losing the melody or is it down to the lyrics being about a defendant on trial? In any case, I just love the song! Okay, the top notch solo from Ken helps as well.

“Lost Queen” has been added to my list of songs about prostitutes which I will write a post about much further down the line. It’s slows down a bit and it’s definitely a good melodic metal track. But if I were to call any tracks filler, though I won’t, the last two tracks aren’t quite as good as the rest. They’re still good tracks, I wouldn’t leave either one off the album. It’s just they’re not as good. Saying that, the penultimate track has been growing on me.

Track Listing:

  1. Go Down Fighting
  2. Steel and Starlight
  3. Tokyo Rose
  4. Rocked Outta Love
  5. Castle Walls
  6. On Your Feet
  7. Falling for You
  8. Exhibit A
  9. Lost Queen
  10. Hot on Your Heels
  11. Streets of Pleasure
Shok Paris

Vic Hix- vocals

Ken Erb- lead guitar

Eric Marderwald- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Kel Berkshire- bass, backing vocals

Jan Roll- drums

Shok Paris is an excellent reason why we should have had the internet in 1987. While I will forever be grateful to my sister for sending me those tapes, I think if they had more exposure, they would have gone further than they did.

Next post: The Great Kat- Worship Me or Die

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