by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

King Of Darkness - Triple Whammy
(Lion Music)

So yeah, get this... you've got three Japanese guys who, judging by the look and name, could be a death metal band. But no, what King Of Darkness provide is a cross between heavy hair-era Dokken and heavy Shadowlife-era Dokken, sinister, chunky hair metal with a shot of Sykes. And surprise, it's pretty damn good, vocalist Genta Nakamura having a good but grindy '80s hair metal delivery, no distraction in terms of accent, that cause helped by mixing the guy a little quiet. The lyrics are awful, but you'll only find that out if you read them, er, so don't. The production is solid and concert-inspiring, and the songs live or die (but mostly live) on a working relationship between very rhythmic riffs and the rhythm section. And a word to the wise, the songs rock harder and mightier toward the back half, so make the trip East.
Rating 7.5

Lizzy Borden - The Murderess Metal Road Show Live
(Metal Blade)

I'm starting to get why Lizzy Borden sold so many records in the metal-friendly spray-day of the late '80s, and it is because the band's songs were well-constructed, straddling the classicism of Yngwie or Queensryche with the headbanging Germanity of Accept or Warlock. The clothes are another matter. Yeesh... this live shredfest, granted, is a celebrated '85 presentation but you gotta laugh at Lizzy's get-ups. Getting past that though, the band is spot-on, much more progressive than the reputation, effortless in presenting pretty tricky riffs, fills and chills. The sound is good enough, the video... you can tell it's old but it's solid as well, highlight of the show being the band's McCartney cover Live And Let Die, killing Axl at that game, Lizzy in possession of (vibrato'ed) pipes for miles. As extras, John Bush interviews a corn-row'ed Lizzy (neither are very good actors!), and the package's graphics shine for the photo gallery (one of the best I've seen) and the discography. All told, 15 solid tracks that will have you suppin' cough syrup in the Heavy Metal Parking Lot before Lizzy hits the stage, preferably with Eric Steel or Betsy or Jack Starr...
Rating 7

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