Release Date: January 19, 2010
Catalog Number: RAR7881
Style: Hard Rock
Packaging: 4 panel, full color, traditional jewel case
ABOUT THE ALBUM
Liberty N' Justice (the Melodic Rockers with a Message) formed 19 years ago and with 8 albums to their credit, they are still blasting out new music louder than ever! Liberty N' Justice in 2004 went from a full band to a studio project based around the songwriting of founder, Justin Murr. The concept went on to gain Liberty N' Justice worldwide recognition by getting established musicians from some of the world's most famous Christian and mainstream rock bands to play on their albums.
Here is a list of Light It Up participants: Phil Lewis (LA Guns), JK Northrup (King Kobra), Dale & Troy Thompson (Bride), Lynn Louise Lowrey (Vixen), Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister), CJ Snare & Bill Leverty (Firehouse), Ted Poley (Danger Danger), Vic Rivera (Crunch), Les Carlson (Bloodgood), Oz Fox (Stryper), Sheldon Tarsha (Tarsha/Adler's Appetite), Jeff Pilson (Dokken/Foreigner), Kelly Keeling (Baton Rouge/TSO), Kerri Kelli (Alice Cooper), Pete Loran & Steve Brown (Trixter), Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (GNR/Lita Ford), Chris Jericho (WWE Wrestler/Fozzy), Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Harry Hess & Pete Lesperance (Harem Scarem), Marq Torien (BulletBoys), Chris Holmes (W.A.S.P.), Robert Mason (Warrant/Lynch Mob), Jerry Dixon (Warrant), Shawn Pelata (Line Of Fire), Stephen Chesney (Frontiers) also appearing are Eric Rango (Takara), Terry llous (XYZ), Marc Danzeisen (BulletBoys/Little Caesar), Doug Odell (Crunch/TNA) & John Pine.
**Rock Eyez: "You have to give big props to Murr for turning out a quality product…Murr has outdone himself with top-notch musicianship." (5 out of 5 stars)
**White Throne: "LNJ have hit a homerun to these ears. Justin Murr is the brainchild behind LNJ and the group’s main songwriter. What he has offered here is an amazing collection of catchy hook laden whimsy that satisfies on all levels. You woulda thought that you just popped the shrink wrap off a new Bon Jovi or Def Leppard or Firehouse or Vixen or Bulletboys disc." (9 out of 10 axes)
**The Refinery Rock: "I do have to say that Light It Up has lived up to the hype. Justin and company have pulled off another kickin' album and have etched their niche in the music industry with this star-studded classic. I have to definitely give LNJ credit, not sure if too many bands can handle this much talent and sound this great. I recommend this album whole heartedly and turning it up real loud. In fact....Light It Up!" (5 out of 5 stars)
**Shipwreck Island: "…what was once considered a real interesting endeavor has transformed into one of the hottest projects not only in Christian rock but also the modern melodic rock movement." (4.98 out of 5 stars)
01. Light It Up (Phil Lewis of LA Guns & JK Northrup of King Kobra)
02. The Other Thief (Dale & Troy Thompson of Bride)
03. Blink (Lynn Louise Lowrey of Vixen & Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister)
04. Do What You Believe (CJ Snare & Bill Leverty of Firehouse)
05. Man Vs Mother Nature (Ted Poley of Danger Danger and Vic Rivera of Crunch)
06. Treading On Serpents (Les Carlsen of Bloodgood & Ox Fox of Stryper)
07. Uncle Sam (Sheldon Tarsha of Tarsha/Adler's Appetite and Jeff Pilson of Dokken/ Foreigner)
08. Every Reason To Believe (Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge/TSO & Kerri Kelli of Alice Cooper Band)
09. Wrestling With God (Pete Loran/Steve Brown of Trixter & Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal of GNR/Lita Ford)
10. Best Time You Never Had (Chris Jericho of Fozzy/WWE Wresting) & Phil Collen of Def Leppard)
11. Beautiful Decision (Harry Hess & Pete Lesperance of Harem Scarem)
12. Drunk Dead Gorgeous (Marq Torien of BulletBoys and Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P.)
13. Greed (Robert Mason of Warrant/Lynch Mob & Jerry Dixon of Warrant)
14. For Better Or Worse (Shawn Pelata of Line Of Fire & Stephen Chesney of Frontiers)
WHITE THRONE BLOG REVIEW
Who is Liberty N Justice you ask? That’s a good question. I’ve been asking myself that same question for the last 1-2 years. I’ve heard the name tossed about the various Metal Forums but never came into possession of one of their releases, until now that is. Honestly this particular release is one of the best 80’s albums recorded in 2009! With a release date of January 10, 2010 this one is more than worth the wait.
From the opening note of ‘Light it Up’ to the closing chorus of ‘For Better or Worse’ LNJ have hit a homerun to these ears. Justin Murr is the brainchild behind LNJ and the group’s main songwriter. What he has offered here is an amazing collection of catchy hook laden whimsy that satisfies on all levels. Mature but fun sounding songs that'll have you thinking you're listening to XM Satellite Radio's Hair Nation channel. A genre that despite its lousy name has a heritage of fabulous melodic masterpieces.
The production is wonderful with a nice big sound that isn’t lost in a room of reverb.Rich production values with layers of sweetness. You woulda thought that you just popped the shrink wrap off a new Bon Jovi or Def Leppard or Firehouse or Vixen or Bulletboys disc. No members of Bon Jovi participated on this release, but members from the other mentioned acts did. Great tones abound from the drums to the bass to the guitars. The vocal sound is clean and powerful, with a strong natural aura to it. And the vocal melodies are as catchy as glue, if they don’t stick in your head you’re not listening.
It really is difficult to describe except to say that if you liked 80’s hard rock you’re gonna LOVE this CD. It's has the swagger and the attitude but not the excess. It’s not an “L.A.” sound even tho there are elements of it. It’s not the “GNR” sound with the bluesy emphasis even tho you’ll hear elements I suppose. There are influxes of the modern sound but again it’s not dominant. LNJ has taken all of these elements and put together a truly great package. In my head as I listen I can see the big hair swinging around with a huge stage set and lights, a million camera edits. Just like an MTV video on Headbangers Ball, yeah momma!
After reading the following list of participants you tell me if I’m off the mark! Phil Lewis(LA Guns), JK Northrup, Dale and Troy Thompson (Bride), Lynn Louise Lowrey (Vixen), Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister), CJ Snare & Bill Leverty (Firehouse), Ted Poley (Danger Danger), Vic Rivera (Crunch), Les Carlson (Bloodgood), Oz Fox (Stryper/Bloodgood), Sheldon Tarsha (Tarsha/Adler’s Appetite), Jeff Pilson (Dokken/Foreigner), Kelly Keeling (Baton Rouge/TSO), Kerri Kelli (Alice Cooper), Pete Loran & Steve Brown (Trixter), Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (GN’R/Lita Ford), Chris Jericho (WWE Wrestler/Fozzy), Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Harry Hess & Pete Lesperance (Harem Scarem), Marq Torien (BulletBoys), Chris Holmes (WASP), Robert Mason (Warrant/Lynch Mob), Jerry Dixon (Warrant), Shawn Pelata (Line of Fire), Stephen Chesney (Frontiers) also appearing are Eric Rango, Terry llous (XYZ), Chris Dickens (Mission of One), Marc Danzeisen (BulletBoys/Little Caesar), Doug Odell (Crunch/TNA) & John Pine…. Whew!! Typers cramp…… ouch!!
Holy Toldeo, with a line up like that WOW. Believe me when I say this isn’t your typical all star release where the hype takes you to the top and the release doesn’t cut it. Maybe the songs are lacking or the production is hack job. Or the entire project just feels CHEESY. That is not the case here at all. This is a top notch production from top to bottom and everywhere in between.
As I listened to this release I was reminded of the few albums by Mastedon with Dino and Jon Elefante. They brought in quite an array of vocalists to perform which added to the dynamic of the project. Lyrically it’s pretty hard not to hear the Christian influence/worldview yet I detect no clichés but heartfelt lyrics that any believer would be happy to hear.
Listening to this disc I’m transported back in time and I enjoyed every minute of it.
MELODIC ROCK . COM RVIEW
This is by far the best album to date from the all-star Christian rock project Liberty & Justice. Justin Murr, the man behind the project (bass, co-writer) has once again assembled a wonderful cast of new and old faces of the hard rock scene to deliver his message.
This is perhaps the most diverse group assembled also. Chris Jericho to Marq Torien, to Harry Hess and Ted Poley.
One thing I have always pointed out with L&J releases is the always diverse array of styles and production values within each album. Too varied and with not enough quality control. Something which can fall out of the control of the organizer when using so may artists and studios to create a cohesive project.
I'm happy to report that the majority of this album is very consistent and follows a similar musical path – perhaps the most melodic rock friendly path of all the L&J releases to date.
But in the negative column, the album kicks off with the two worst songs of the whole set. Light It Up (with Phil Lewis and JK Northrup) is heavy and has a decent aggressive hook, but the recording quality is plan bad.
And even worse is the horrendous quality of The Other Thief (Dale & Troy from Bride). Unlistenable to my ears.
From here though, things pick up, with the very wise decision to involve Vic Rivera in the writing and recording process.
Vic's production style is very melodic friendly and always a smooth ride, although I'm still waiting for Vic's drum tracks to kick the required amount of ass his songs deserve.
Blink is a nice upbeat melodic rock featuring Louise Lowrey (Vixen); Do What You Believe is a moodier mid-tempo track featuring CJ Snake (Firehouse).
Man Vs Mother Nature is almost a Poley/Rivera track in disguise, as Ted Poley features and the song could easily be on the duo's debut album. Great melodic rocker here with the best chorus of the album, but the drums Vic…the drums!!!
Treading Serpents (Les Carlsen of Bloodgood) is heavier until the very melodic chorus bursts through.
Beautiful Decision is Harem Scarem (Pete and Harry Guest) meets Vic Rivera – great combination and another classic melodic rock tune already previewed on the MRCD5 compilation.
Drunk Dead Gorgeous could almost be a super heavy Poley/Rivera tune except Marq Torein's razor blade vocals could not be mistaken for Ted Poley!
And Greed features Robert Mason on lead. A bit rough this one, but the guitar solo and chorus are well worth it.
Aside from Vic's vital input into this album, elsewhere on the album you can hear the terrific melodic ballad For Better Or Worse (Shawn Pelata & Stephen Chesney); the acoustic ballad Every Reason To Believe (Kelly Keeling) and two absolutely great Steve Brown co-writes Wrestling With God (Brown and Pete Loran of Trixter) and Best Time We Never Had (Chris Jericho and Phil Collen). Both tracks rock – one classic, one modern…
The Bottom Line
A mixed bag again, but the good far outweigh the lesser tracks this time around and there is a more defined appeal for melodic rock fans here with some neat guests involved. After the first two tracks the album becomes more focussed and delivers the goods.
'Light It Up' is the latest long player from Liberty N' Justice - the melodic rockers with a message - who, with eight albums to their name and 19 years behind their belt, should be immensely proud of themselves as this record comes complete with a list of participants that reads like a who's who of the best CD collection ever (Mine). Rather than merely list a couple, I shall give a complete breakdown of each song and its players.
UBER ROCK REVIEW
Opener and title track 'Light It Up' - featuring JK Northrup (King Kobra) and the vocals of Phil Lewis (LA Guns) - is a great opener and a grower of a track that seeps into your subconscious. 'The Other Thief' features Dale and Troy Thompson of Bride and sounds exactly like Bride, which isn't a bad thing at all! 'Blink' is next up and, with vocals from Lynn Louise Lowrey (Vixen) and guitar courtesy of Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister), is an AOR radio rock gem.
CJ Snare and Bill Leverty (Firehouse) add a sparkle of grandness to 'Do What You Believe' which is a ballad which asks the eternal question of life, to live the life you want and to listen to your heart. The man with a voice so velvety is up next, Ted Poley (Danger Danger, Bone Machine), along with his new guitar partner in crime Vic Rivera (Crunch), with 'Man Vs Mother Nature' - a mid paced rocker with a message of be kind to the environment and to each other. 'Treading On Serpents' features Les Carsen (Bloodgood) and Oz Fox (Stryper) and is reminiscent of Winger to these ears with its stop-start riff. 'Uncle Sam' is peppered up by Sheldon Tarsha (Adler's Appetite) and Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner & Steel Dragon) which takes me back to the Eighties with a healthy dose of Iron Maiden's 'Wasted Years' middle eight and Dokken.
Side Two would start with 'Every Reason To Believe' featuring Kelly Keeling (Baton Rogue) and riffs from guitar whore Keri Kelli (Alice Cooper, Big Bang Babies, Dad's Porno Mag, Pretty Boy Floyd, Warrant, Skid Row, LA Guns, Adler's Appetite etc.). This track is acoustic based and very reminiscent of Baton Rogue. 'Wrestling With God' is a song the awesomeness of which was never in question, given who is on the track - Pete Loran and Steve Brown of Trixter which, in the light of no new Trixter music since their reunion, is the next best thing and is AMAZING! Reason enough to buy this album on its own.
Chris Jericho (WWE, Fozzy) is the singer with the most to prove on here and teamed up with Phil Collen (Def Leppard) brings a bit of majesty to the proceedings. Harem Scarem team of Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance also bring with them a polished sound to 'Beautiful Decision'. UBER legend Chris Holmes (WASP) is partnered with Marq Torien (Bulletboys) on what could be their finest moment! The track in question is 'Drop Dead Gorgeous' and, as the title suggests, is short pure aural bliss. 'Greed' is also the first recorded output of Robert Mason (Lynch Mob, Warrant) with his Warrant band mate Jerry Dixon, and manages to sound great. I cannot wait to hear more from the new Warrant line up. Last track and the only unknowns to me Shawn Pelata (Line of Fire) and Stephen Chesney (Frontiers) which serves to me as a possible teaser for their day jobs.
All in all a great album but, as with many long players like this (or guitarist's solo albums with different vocalists), suffers from not being consistent. That being said I still think that 10 brilliant songs out of 14 in this day and age is something to be proud of. This album will join the ranks of great records such as Trixter's 'Hear' and all of the previous Liberty N' Justice releases.
BLAST MAGAZINE REVIEW
1.) “Light It Up” (Phil Lewis of LA Guns and JK Northrup) – This track opens with the special effects of a hospitals heart monitor underneath the effect of someone coughing. The musical intro kicks-in with a cowbell count off. The main body of the musical intro had a very simple hard rock feel to it. The guys used the same rhythm arrangement for the musical verse as the intro. Just as soon as the first lyric line of the verse begins there was a drastic musical change. Basically the guitar rhythm goes from a very intense guitar arrangement to mainly fill-in chords. Coming from a longtime Phil Lewis fan if someone had of told me he was the lead vocalist on this track I would have call them a liar. The vocals on the verses don’t sound like Phil at all!! Phil’s vocal lines of the verse have a small echo attached to them. The last vocal line of the verse was double-tracked. There was a small rhythm change for the musical chorus. The vocals of the chorus sound more like Phil than the verse did. The second verse had a completely different feel than the first. There was a small breakdown section connecting the second chorus with the third chorus. This track consisted of no lead guitar solo.
2.) “The Other Thief “(Dale and Troy Thompson of Bride) – There is a lead vocal scream over the top of the opening of this intro. The intro consists of two different very intense rhythm guitar arrangements. The rhythm guitar of the musical verse matches up perfectly with the lyrical lines of the verse. The lead vocal lines of the verse were double tracked. There was a small rhythm guitar change for the musical pre-chorus. The wah-wah effect on the lead guitar solo was the perfect effect for this type of song. There is a small vocal/drum breakdown section.
3.) “Blink” (Lynn Louise Lowrey of Vixen and Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister) – Lynn sings a vocal accent over the top of the intro section. The band used the same musical arrangement for the verse as the intro section. Right off the bat, the first thing I noticed about Lynn’s vocals is she sounds better today than she ever has!!! There is a small rhythm change for the musical chorus. Lynn overdubbed her own backing harmonies on the choruses. There is a small breakdown section after the second chorus. Eddie kept the lead guitar solo very short and simple. There is a small musical rest connecting the solo with the third chorus. Eddie plays several lead guitar licks underneath the repeated choruses throughout the rest of the song.
4.) “Do What You Believe” (CJ Snare and Bill Leverty of Firehouse) – Bill opens this track with a very simple acoustic guitar riff. Once the lead vocals kick-in there is no doubt that CJ Snare of Firehouse is singing the lead vocals. The song does not kick-in until the musical chorus. It is at this time when Bill kicks-in the electric guitar arrangement. Though the drum & bass line continues Bill reverts back to an acoustic guitar rhythm for the second verse. The lead guitar solo though short was very huge!!!! There is a section of the fourth chorus that consisted of just vocals. There is a minor lead guitar solo underneath CJ’s vocals on the last chorus of the outro. This is pure Leverty & Snare!!!
5.) “Man vs. Mother Nature” (Ted Poley of Danger Danger and Vic Rivera of Crunch) – This track opens with a female voice laughing & saying, “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.” Of all the songs that Ted Poley sings it had to be the one that opens with a sexual female voice. When you really think about it its kind of fitting!!! This intro consisted of a single guitar riff/double riff/single/double…etc. More than likely the double riff was double-tracked. In many ways the guitar riffs of the intro gives the song an early Danger Danger sound. The way the verse was arranged has the rhythm guitar riffs in between the lyric lines. The bass & drum line is the only thing underneath Ted’s vocals. This type of song arranging lets Ted’s voice become the main focus of the verse. For me the bass drum kick of the drum line makes the musical verse. This type of bass drum pattern is very simple to learn and once mastered really gives a song a great sound. There is a complete rhythm arrangement change for the musical chorus. The lead guitar solo is after the second chorus connecting it to the third chorus there is a second lead guitar solo. This solo runs throughout the rest of the song.
6.) “Treading On Serpents” (Les Carlsen of Bloodgood and Oz Fox of Stryper/Bloodgood) – This intro consisted of two different rhythm arrangements. Like most songs that has two guitar arrangements you have a rhythm guitar arrangement underneath a lead guitar arrangement. However, this song was written with the lead guitar playing fill-in rhythm chords. This is usually %99.9 of the time the opposite of the way songs are written. There is a vocal accent over the top of the second and third measure. The guys used the same music arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the intro. The way the verse was arranged has the lyric lines laced in between the music arrangements. There is a huge arrangement change for the musical chorus. The hook of the chorus was amazing!!! After the second chorus there are a couple heavily influenced Steven Tyler vocal accents that lead into the lead guitar solo. For one reason or another to a lot of die hard metal fans Stryper was not taken to serious in the eighties which really sucks because Oz ranks up there with some of the best guitarists from that era. This lead guitar solo proves this!!! There is a minor lead guitar solo underneath the vocal lines of the last chorus of the outro.
7.) “Uncle Sam” (Sheldon Tarsha of Tarsha/Adler's Appetite and Jeff Pilson of Dokken/Foreigner) – This track had a very abstract sound to it. However do not let that fool you. By the time I heard the chorus I was wiping salsa & cheese off of my goatee from where my bottom jaw had hit my dinner plate. Though Mike Layne & Justin Murr wrote this song, you cannot deny the musicians especially Pilson & Sheldon Tarsha!!! It may take days for me to get over this abstract hook the song has!!!!
8.) “Every Reason To Believe” (Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge/TSO and Kerri Kelli of Alice Cooper) – The intro of this ballad consisted of two different acoustic guitar arrangements. Kelly sings a small vocal accent to connect the musical intro with the musical verse. For the musical verse Kerri altered just one of the acoustic guitar arrangements. The base rhythm guitar he kept as is. The second lyric line of the musical verse consisted of a backing harmony. The acoustic guitar arrangements along with the way Kelly sings the lyric lines gives the song a very seventies Gordon Lightfoot feel. It sounded like there was a key change for the musical chorus. Though the song has no lead guitar solo it does not really need one.
9.) “Wrestling With God” (Pete Loran, Steve Brown &Ron Thal a.k.a Bubblefoot) –This song was very simple and straight forward.
10.) “Best Time You Never Had” (Chris Jericho WWE Wrestler/Fozzy and Phil Collen of Def Leppard) – This intro opens with a drum machine that leads into an acoustic drums. Fading into the drum line there is an acoustic guitar rhythm. The intro leads into an opening chorus. The musical arrangement has a very simple feel to it. The last lyric of the first verse had a small echo attached to it. The song has an abstract feel to it. The highlight of this song is Chris Jericho’s vocals!!!
11.) “Beautiful Decision” (Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance of Harem Scarem) – This track consisted of no intro arrangement. The drum line of the opening verse consisted of just a bass drum kick. The song does not kick-in until the musical verse. Much like track 4 because you have Harry & Pete of Harem Scarem on this track the song takes on a Harem sound.
12.) “Drunk Dead Gorgeous” (Marq Torien of BulletBoys and Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P.) – This track opens with the special effects of screeching car tires & broken glass. This leads into a snare fill which basically is the intro. Chris kept the rhythm guitar of the verse fairly simple. There was a small rhythm guitar change for the musical pre-chorus. Marq double tracked his backing vocals for the chorus. This double tracking gave the vocals a duet feel. The lead solo is by far one of the best Holmes has ever recorded. There is a huge minor lead guitar solo underneath the lead vocal lines of the outro section.
13.) “Greed” (Robert Mason of Warrant/Lynch Mob and Jerry Dixon of Warrant) – All I can say is if this track is ¼ as good as what the new Warrant is going to sound like. Then they are going to sound amazing!!!
14.) “For Better Or Worse” (Shawn Pelata of Line Of Fire/Waking Jonah and Stephen Chesney of Waking Jonah) – This track opens with just a beautiful piano piece. As the intro progresses it is accented by several cymbal crashes. The main body of the intro kicks-in with a huge pick slide. The engineer in me thinks the electric guitar should have been less over powering and accented the piano. Keep in mind this is just me and my opinion however I felt the way it was recorded caused the guitar to completely over power the piano. There is a small drum fill connecting the main musical intro with the musical verse. Underneath the piano of the musical verse there is a small orchestration arrangement. There is a lead guitar solo that connects the first chorus with the second verse. After the second chorus there is a second lead guitar solo this solo is more of the major solo. There is a second minor lead guitar solo over the top of the outro section of the song.
From beginning to end ‘Light It Up’ is just amazing! An absolute must buy!!!