Lizzy Borden – “My Midnight Things” (Metal Blade Records)
If you thought arena rock was dead then think again. Master of mayhem Lizzy Borden has been going at it since the mid 80s and has become a legendary name associated with LA’s glam scene and arguably its sole survivor. Despite a hiatus through the 90s, Lizzy returned with a vengeance in the new millennium, both as a recording artist and touring entity. While releases have been infrequent, Borden’s perfectionist approach has been met with respect, and certainly no shortage of fans both old and new to his material. “My Midnight Things”, the band’s 7th release, has been directly influenced by this and has only one concept throughout – love. As such, hardcore fans of Borden’s early heavy metal will no doubt be screaming ‘commercial!’ at the top of their outraged lungs, but look closer, and what you have are some truly amazing songs that very much fit into the arena genre as inspired by Queen, Cheap Trick and Alice Cooper, all inspirations to Borden himself. Playing most of the instruments and certainly handling all the vocals through his 7 octave range, Lizzy is joined by Marliese Quance Mildenberger handling the majority of the keyboards and drummer (and brother) Joey Scott also producing. Utilising the technical skills of Greg Fidelman (Metallica, Black Sabbath, Adele, U2) to mix and mastering handled by Tom Baker (David Bowie, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Tom Petty), the sound here is big – really big – and is actually comparable to that of these rock giants, largely thanks to Lizzy employing a multi dimensional approach to both his lead and backing vocals. Of the more classic tracks ‘A Stranger To Love’ with its gothy feel thanks to Mildenberger’s synths immediately grabs the attention as Borden heaps on the vocal harmonies in true air punching style and Scott pounds away in unison attests to this trio’s astounding talents, while on ‘The Perfect Poison’ the suave piano in contrast to Borden’s powering voice, but both of which exude deep and catchy melodies in abundance will have anyone singing along through to its climatic ending! Giving Marilyn Manson a serious run for his money on ‘Our Love Is God’, its raw machine metal is made all the more effective through its addictive chorus that drones possessively through the multiple vocals, employed to deadly effect once again as they are throughout this impressive release. Perhaps better marketed as a solo release, “My Midnight Things” has as wide reach as intended and while this may rile some, there is no questioning the awesome talents of the man known as Lizzy Borden.