Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
One of many quite competent yet largely unheralded American heavy metal bands of the 1980s, Camden, CT's Liege Lord were formed in 1982 and released three commercially unsuccessful but critically well-regarded albums, before quietly breaking up at the end of the decade. Sadly, this was actually a very common state of affairs for most American "classic" metal bands of the 1980s (e.g., Metal Church, Omen, Virgin Steele, etc., etc.), whose music was inspired by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (as well as antecedents Judas Priest -- ergo Liege Lord's original name, Deceiver), instead of flashier homegrown hard rock groups like Aerosmith or Van Halen. As a result, Liege Lord members Andy Michaud (vocals), Tony Truglio (guitar), Pete McCarthy (guitar), Matt Vinci (bass), and Frank Cortese (drums) quickly realized that their demo tapes were gaining more traction among metal fans in Europe than in their own country, and so they didn't think twice about accepting an offer from French label Black Dragon to release of their first album, Freedom's Rise, in 1985. Naturally, this situation virtually ensured that the band's career remained stillborn in the U.S.A., even while their crunchy and adept fantasy metal collected accolades across the pond.
But Liege Lord's fortunes seemed to take a turn for the better when California's rising Metal Blade Records signed on to release their sophomore album, Burn to My Touch, in 1987. Produced by Blue Öyster Cult bassist Joe Bouchard and with McCarthy replaced by new guitarist Paul Nelson (a student of Steve Vai, no less), the album showed vast improvement over its predecessor -- not only in terms of audio fidelity, but where the group's songwriting and performance chops were concerned. Liege Lord's music also appeared to be moving at an overall faster, speed metal clip, and yet they still seemed like hopeless anachronisms in comparison to the concurrent rise of an even faster and more aggressive brand of metal called thrash.
By the time they tentatively circled the mosh pit with 1988's slightly thrashier Master Control album, and the help of new singer John Comeau (later of Annihilator and Overkill), the match was effectively lost, and Liege Lord's team had been disqualified from '80s metal contention. However, as the years went by and a new style known as power metal grew in popularity across the world, and particularly in Europe, so too did many albums released by America's overlooked classic and speed metal generation, including those released by Liege Lord. So even though the band had been inactive and largely forgotten for years in its homeland, the summer of 2000 saw a partially reunited Liege Lord (led by Nelson and Comeau) performing before tens of thousands of metal fans at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany.