By JAY ROBERTS
The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.
LIZZY BORDEN – MENACE TO SOCIETY (1986)
Menace To Society is the second album from Lizzy Borden and I’d venture to say that it is one of the band’s most memorable releases. This is almost certainly due to the fact that the album contains one of the group’s all-time best songs in “Notorious”.
Even though my timeline with the group didn’t start until the Visual Lies release, I do remember hearing “Notorious” on the various hard rock and metal specialty programs I would listen to on the radio. The song is an absolute classic! It rocks you hard and fast and with singer Lizzy Borden spitfiring the lyrics and the memorable backing chorus to give me depth to the song, it was pretty much the perfect situation for this song to come alive.
The problem for me with this particular album is that while others may consider this a classic of the mid 80’s metal era, I found myself more than a little unhappy with the majority of the other tracks on the cassette.
The album opened with “Generation Aliens” and while it had a fast paced music soundtrack and a speedy delivery of the vocals, the song just never really took off for me. That kind of balls-out metal attack was also featured on “Stiletto (Voice of Command)” but with the same result. There’s nothing overtly wrong with the songs but at the same time, it is instantly forgettable once the song ends. It doesn’t have a stick to your ribs kind of staying power.
If I’m being honest, I felt that way about “Terror On The Town” and the title track as well. Even though I wrote about the band’s Give ‘Em The Axe EP in a previous article in this series where I said that I enjoyed the raw sound of those recordings, I just didn’t with this release.
I say this because songs like “Bloody Mary”, “Love Kills”, “Brass Tactics” and “Ursa Minor” were gawdawful. And while I didn’t care for the songs in general, I was left wondering if the material would’ve sounded better if there’d been more of a polish to them in the production.
I also wonder if the fact that I loved the way Visual Lies sounded so much, if that affects the potential enjoyment factor for any of the releases that come before it. A song here and there sure but is my overall perception filtered through my love of that album? Gives me something to ponder as I listen to albums for future articles.
I should mention that the song “Ultra Violence” stands out alongside “Notorious” as a great track from the album. But unfortunately that’s about it. I missed out on this album when it was released in 1986, so when I dug this album out of the “Big Box of Cassettes” I had some high hopes that it would affect me in the same kind of positive manner that Give ‘Em The Axe did. But those hopes were mostly dashed and instead I was left feeling kind of gypped because I should’ve really dug this album. The fact that I didn’t seems like a musical failure on my part.
NOTES OF INTEREST – The album was reissued on CD in 2002 and has four bonus tracks. It was reissued again in 2018 on vinyl.
On June 14th, 2018 the new Lizzy Borden album My Midnight Things was released after an 11 year wait between new studio albums.