Life after the eighties has proved difficult for Los Angeles based shock rockers Lizzy Borden. Right from their inception in 1983, the act were casually lumped in with the burgeoning LA Glam scene, but in reality owed just as much to Thrash and US Power Metal as anything else. So when over-the-top stage theatrics and bewilderingly big hair suddenly became passé, and the aforementioned genres were effectively wiped out due to the onset of grunge and the alternative scene, the band eventually succumbed and joined many others like them, and in 1996, laid down their axes for what appeared to be for the final time.
However, as horror films have shown repeatedly over the years, you can never keep a good psychopath down, and in 1999, the eponymously titled singer (real name Gregory Charles Harges), his brother, drummer Joey Scott Harges, and previous guitarist Alex Nelson got back on their feet, recruited Swedish bass player Marten Andersson, and released comeback album Deal With the Devil (Metal Blade) in 2000.
In 2004, Nelson was sadly killed in a car accident and the group disbanded soon after, eventually reforming with a new line-up in 2006 and releasing Appointment With Death (Metal Blade) the following year. Since then, the band have doggedly toured the festival circuit, withstood numerous line-up changes while Lizzy himself has undergone an almost complete image makeover, cutting back the big frothy hair and replacing it with a jet black look. So now, eleven long years after their last studio offering, and stripped down to a two-piece consisting of only Lizzy and his brother, the deadly duo are finally releasing their new album, My Midnight Things (Metal Blade).
Opening with the title track and ‘Obsessed With You’, it soon becomes evident that this isn’t exactly Borden at his very best, although he does begin to sound much more like the singer of old when he really goes for it on the latter of those two cuts. ‘Long May They Haunt Us’ is a decent neck-rattler that could have been written for a Michale Graves-era Misfits album, and next track ‘The Scar Across My Heart’ is more of the same, but pink and fluffier. The effectively catchy ‘A Stranger to Love’ sounds like Lizzy has been listening to Rammstein, but only their happier, bouncier side, while ‘The Perfect Poison’ and ‘Run Away With Me’ are solid, commercial numbers with nice hooks, but sound far removed from the band who gave us ‘Rod of Iron’, ‘Flesheater’ and ‘Generation Aliens’.
‘Our Love is God’ is short, sweet and thankfully a little more aggressive, while ‘My Midnight Things (Reprise)’ is simply the title track in piano-backed ballad form, and closer ‘We Belong to the Shadows’ is another four minutes of reasonable, but fairly insubstantial radio rock.
Not coming close to the quality of their eighties output, My Midnight Things isn’t a poor album, but it does have the tendency to sound disappointingly lightweight and throwaway, containing little of that old Lizzy fire. However, as a straightforward, no-nonsense hard rock album, removed from the burden of legacy and expectation, it does a perfectly reasonable job and will leave with at least a couple of hooks planted firmly into your skull.