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Even back in 1989 when I would see advertisements for Lizzy Borden records in the rock press I always thought that the band looked a little rubbish, not only a sub Twisted Sister but a bargain bucket version of the likes of Crimson Glory. On the evidence from what I have heard in Master Of Disguise I have to change that initial opinion. I had heard an earlier track from ‘86 which lived up to my original opinions, but I must admit this album is pretty damn sweet.
Although not a concept album as such there is a loose story line which as far as I can make out revolves around a sexual deviant with a taste for blood. As ridiculous as that sounds, the band shows a maturity similar to Operation: Mindcrime-era Queensryche in numbers such the intricate double vocal tracked ballad Under The Rose, which has the band displaying epic grandeur for such songs with such a short running time. They try it again with less success on One False Move, but compared to the majority of power ballads released at the time Lizzy’s effort was at least on par with the likes of Warrant and Whitesnake.
Where the band exceed and why Master Of Disguise is included in this rundown of the best records of 1989 is its straight rocking songs. That’s not to say that there is nothing fancy on it; the technical guitar playing skill is quite brilliant and the solo on Sins Of The Flesh, for instance, gives Eddie Van Halen a run for his money. That backed with its early Motley Crue riff attack makes me realize I should have thought a little higher of the band when the record was initially released. Elsewhere, tracks such as Roll Over And Play Dead and Love Is A Crime remind me of Fastway at their very best. It’s great stuff.
According to the personal reviews listed on Amazon, this record is seen by fans as the first proper solo effort my front man Lizzy, but it's not labelled as such and there is a real lack of information out there both in print and on the web, yet I would recommend it to those who feel they’re missing the final link in the '80s rock chain. Lizzy Borden are well worth the investigation.