By Bob Nalbandian

Appointment With Death
Metal Blade

Appointment With Death is the latest release from Los Angeles shock-metal masters Lizzy Borden and is in my opinion the strongest Lizzy album to date. Like all of the band's past records, Appointment With Death is built around a conceptual theme, this time (as the title implies) it's based on the subject of death. Unlike a lot of modern so-called "conceptual" albums that are based on hokey themes backed by mediocre music, Lizzy's latest release explores a deep, dark and witty insight to several questions revolving around the topic of death. And the music backs up the lyrical content brilliantly. The musical atmosphere is dark, melodic and epical, at times with orchestration paralleling a film score as exemplified on such songs as "The Death Of Love" and "The Darker Side." Along with Lizzy at the helm on vocals, the band features new guitarist Ira Black, long-time bassist Marten Andersson and drummer/co-founder Joey Scott. This album also features some incredible guest performances including George Lynch (Dokken/ Lynch Mob), Dave Meniketti (Y & T), Corey Beaulieu (Trivium), Jonas Hansson (Silver Mountain), Eric Rutan (Hate Eternal/ex-Morbid Angel) and several others who not only contribute some blistering guitar solos throughout this disc but also add some stimulating chemistry to the classic Lizzy Borden cachet. Everything about Appointment With Death, right down to the production (by Borden and Scott and mixed by Eric Rutan) and cover artwork is masterful. Standout tracks include the opener "Abnormal," "Bloody Tears," the Savatage-ish "Somethin's Crawlin" and the amazing title track but the fact is all eleven songs truly stand out. With music so powerful, intricate and melodic, lyrics that are conceptually profound, and supreme operatic vocals, Lizzy Borden may very well be America's answer to Iron Maiden.

The Inner Sanctum

The reigning kings of the NWOBHM Saxon are back in full force with their latest SPV release The Inner Sanctum. The band sound tighter and heavier than ever and even Biff's vocals sound a helluva lot stronger than on the several previous Saxon releases. And what's even better is the fact that the band brought back long-time drum-lord Nigel Glocker (one of my all-time favorite drummers!) who brings new life back to the band with his sheer thunderous, metallic power. It's obvious after first listen that Saxon put forth the time and energy to really deliver an over-the-top power-metal masterpiece on this one. This is a tremendous follow-up to the band's inadequate previous release, the 2002 double-disc Heavy Metal Thunder, a somewhat best of album that contained re-recorded versions of classic Saxon songs (which I previously reviewed and admittedly was a bit too harsh although I still hold ground that those new renditions aren't nearly as good as the originals). The songs are brutal and the production is phenomenally heavy highlighted once again by the bombastic Glockler beats and thick, power-driving guitar riffs courtesy of original guitarist Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt, whose been with the band since '94. The album contains a solid mix of furious thrash metal gems like "Need For Speed" and the riff-roaring "Let Me Feel Your Power" as well as brutal power-metal anthems like "Ashes to Ashes" and "If I Was You." The Inner Sanctum is a definite classic metal masterpiece.

Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 14 Page 4