Lizzy Borden’s release schedule has been rather sporadic since their late 80s heyday, with this particular album being their first since 2007’s An Appointment with Death. My Midnight Things is also the band’s first recording as a duo with their namesake frontman providing all the instrumentation except for Joey Scott Harges’s drumming. But despite the smaller staff on hand, Lizzy Borden’s theatrics are firmly intact on their seventh full-length album.
In contrast to the vicious, guitar heavy power metal sound of Appointment with Death, My Midnight Things feels more like a throwback to the Visual Lies/Master of Disguise style. Keyboards and pianos put themselves on equal footing with the bright guitars, a few subtle electronic beats pop up, and there is a slew of driving hard rock tempos that all build up to catchy choruses. One can also hear influence from AOR groups like Styx and Kansas if the hooks like those on “We Belong to the Shadows” are anything to go by.
It’s also somewhat amusing to note that the production is rather overstuffed compared to past outings that had full bands on board. Lizzy Borden’s vocal range is as expansive as ever and higher notes show no strain, but his layering may somehow be even denser than usual and threatens to overwhelm everything else in the mix. Specifically, the drums are rather muffled. It doesn’t feel like overcompensation since his guitar and keyboard playing are pretty good, but it would’ve been great to hear guitars with more bite to them.
That vocal dominance also plays into the album’s catchiness, as the hooks are almost exclusively driven by Borden’s layering. More riff-oriented listeners may consider this a tough pill to swallow and there are admittedly a couple songs like “Obsessed with You” and “Our Love is God” where the hooks may be a little too forced. Fortunately, the confident delivery makes for an enjoyable listen and the songs are better written than most aiming for this approach.
My Midnight Things may be a little too lighthearted for some hardened metal fans, but those already acquainted with Lizzy Borden’s classic theatrics won’t be alienated by it. There are better places to start when getting into the band, but it should appeal to those who like their metal bouncy and catchy. It’ll likely take them another eternity to get a follow-up out there, but it’s hard to complain when the results are this enjoyable.
“My Midnight Things”
“Obsessed with You”
“Long May They Haunt Us”
“We Belong to the Shadows”