Liege Lord were originally formed as a Judas Priest tribute band, under the name Deceiver (from the British God’s title track). From the signing of their contract -that was a suggestion by Christian Logue (Savage Grace) – with the French label Black Dragon and the release of “Freedom’s Rise” and “Burn to My Touch” that established their cult status and gave them a prominent place in every metalheads mind, up until when Andy Michaud, their original singer, left the band, there have been many things that went on. We’re going to discuss that in a future article dedicated to the 1985-1988 Liege Lord era. What matters is that during 1988, the band is about to make some changes and take important decisions.
Let’s assume that Liege Lord hired charismatic singer Bruce Dickinson for the recording of their third album during 1988. How different their progress would have been (commercially and musically)? It would have certainly been way different. Then again how different would “Master Control” be? Well, not so different, and that is definitely a more realistic assumption, than the previous one! I think the previous sentence would also sum up my opinion on this underrated album. Exaggeration or not, is for certain that Joe Comeau, who was introduced to us as Overkill’s guitar player, is a very underrated singer. For those of you that have seen him live, i bet that you wouldn’t argue the fact that we’re dealing with a very powerful performer, gifted with a stentorian voice, a performer that when the crowd responds well will give them exactly what they want, a kick ass show.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t appreciated enough then (1988) and he wasn’t appreciated later on either (2001-2002), when he did the vocals for 2 Annihilator albums (he was then replaced by the mediocre/bad Padden, and that’s when i stopped following them). I’m not saying that Andy Michaud is bad (let’s get real here, he is excellent), but Comeau, even though he did not set the bar higher for them (kinda hard to do when you are already at the top), he managed to make Liege Lord more accessible and closer to the likes of classic heavy metal fans (and metal fans in general), and was able to do that without taking anything away from the bands overall power. Way better production compared to the last 2 epic and unbeatable “Freedom’s Rise” and “Burn to My touch” that were lacking in that department. It’s not a coincidence that responsible for that is Terry Date.
When it comes to composition what stands out most are the great ideas on the guitars by Tony Truglio/Paul Nelson. Bridges are very neat and solos actually serve a purpose without being stilted just to fullfil the typical form of songs. Choruses are catchy and they’re not lacking on dynamic even though they’re very melodic. There are speed/thrash elements scattered all around the album, while there are also parts where the guitars strongly resemble a more European style, such as the title track where solos sound almost Teutonic. Setting the music part aside, lyrics are also well worked and worth mentioning. Inspired by a large variety of subjects, that are not only against totalitairism but also include subject like Sci-fi, aswell as raising awareness of ecology and the dangers of a nuclear disaster. Their cover on Rainbows “Kill the King” is great, while from the start the album is full of epic songs, “Fear Itself” (fast and well suited for a supersonic intro), “Eyes of the Storm” and “Feel the Blade” (probably the most well-known ones of this album, and favorite songs for the crowd to sing along with Joe during live shows), the title track with the amazing guitars, “Broken Wasteland”, “Soldiers’ Fortune” (with the bridges being its distinguishing feature), all songs are gems of Heavy Metal/Speed/U.S. power. Same goes for “Rapture” and “Suspicion”, great songs, especially the latter; you’d probably think that you dug up a rusty “Seventh Son” song. The closing is the thunderous “Fallout”, that starts as a ballad but shortly after transforms into a thrash like, Metal Church-y menace. The cover looks silly and like something from a previous era but nostalgia would turn it into something pleasing especially in the eyes of the older ones. It was released in August 19, 1988 from Metal Blade records.