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I Knew this one would be popular here it’s much more metal and 80’s sounding that previous releases and features John Sykes on guitar whose style is very over the top and metal friendly (think Zakk Wylde if he could write better riffs). Anyway, even though this is an improvement over the Snowy White era Lizzy albums its not quite the classic others have made it out to be, a very good album but hardly one of Lizzy’s best (perhaps their 7th best album, that’s an indication of how many top quality albums Lizzy have produced rather than a way of saying this album isn’t up to standard).
Anyway, musically this album is a change of direction from 70’s hard rock to 80’s hard rock/metal (I think the main difference is the change from good production to a dated 80’s one). But John Sykes does bring a harder edged sound to the band with the title track and ‘Cold Sweat’ being some of the heaviest Lizzy tracks. However this can be a little detrimental to the sound as Scott Gorham is by no means a metal guitarist (and all the better for it) and his playing is not as good as on previous albums as he has to adapt to a different style to which he is less suited , not to say his playing is bad by any means he still sounds good but not as awe inspiringly brilliant as one ‘Bad Reputation’, ‘live and Dangerous’ and ‘’Black Rose’. However despite my minor criticisms of this guitar duo their still excellent and John Sykes certainly was a fine choice on Phil’s part after choosing Snowy White, who lets face it was a bit lacking in charisma and ultimately better suited to session work and Pink Floyd.
Yet again, although this isn’t my favourite direction Lizzy went in ‘Thunder and Lightning’ features some top class songs which shows Phil Lynott’s ability to write well in any still. This album doesn’t have any filler either all of these songs are worth your time which is something Lizzy rarely achieved as they had a habit of writing generally killer albums and putting one stinker on (see ‘S & M’ from ‘Black Rose’ ). Anyway my particular favourites from this strong collection are the title track which is just a great upbeat rocker with some silly 80’s riffs and a hilarious keyboard solo (as Scott said Lizzy is a guitar band so the keyboards were a mistake, but I don’t mind as other than this one solo their not overbearing). ‘Cold Sweat’ is another great track and Lizzy’s most metal moment complete with a tapping guitar break in the middle which really wouldn’t of happened with any other Lizzy guitarist but John Sykes, it remains in the Lizzy (or should I say Whitesnake?) set to this day, which is fair enough , it’s an excellent song and John Sykes’ only writing credit with Lizzy. ‘The Holy War’ is my favourite song here and has some excellent guitar harmonies which are not as frequent as on previous albums, also Phil’s lyrics deal with religion which he does excellently as previously demonstrated by ‘Massacre’ from the ‘Johnny the Fox’ album.
So this album proved that Lizzy could pretty much pull off any style they attempted with aplomb be it funk or 80’s commercial metal (I’ll refrain from saying hair metal as is it isn’t that cheesy). Even though I have some complains with the playing (Scott was much better suited to working with Brian Robertson or Gary Moore) and the production (the guitars are a little thin), this is a still a more than worthy album and a great way to end a career.