L-R Tony Truglio, Frank Cortese, Joe Comeau, Paul Nelson, Matt Vinci
LIEGE LORD formed in 1982 originally billed DECIEVER, as the name suggests a JUDAS PRIEST cover band, adopting the title LIEGE LORD the following year. Following major press interest in Europe for their demo tapes and shaped picture disc EP issued by the Ironworks/Azra label (a US Label based in California, now famous for releasing their artists LP's as picture disks all now considered to be valuable collectibles) the band gained a deal with the French Black Dragon after the company was recommended to LIEGE LORD by SAVAGE GRACE's Christian Logue. Black Dragon was also responsible for the signing of such acts as Savage Grace, Candlemass and Heir Apparent and many more.
'Freedom's Rise' was released in 1985 on Black Dragon while also issued in America on the Ironworks label although its release there was not advertised, distribution was non-existent at best and the album came dressed in plain black and white packaging. The Black Dragon variant though, clad in a high class fantasy artwork sleeve, would score the band acclaim amongst the European Metal press. Reviews in magazines such as the Metal Forces' 1985 review: "Buy or surely die, this album is no exception, a metal classic," was mirrored by many other top metal publicationsat the time (Rock Hard, Kerrang, Metal Hammer, and Enfer to name a few.) This LP established them as one of the founders of what was to be later termed "Power Metal."
But Black Dragon would soon terminate
their relationship with the band prior to the release of the proposed second album claiming that the record was "too Thrash oriented" and thus rejecting it. However, the LIEGE LORD saga with Ironworks did not end there and a whole slew of collectables surfaced during this relationship. The 'Freedom's Rise' album would be released as a limited gatefold issue, 'Farewell' would see the light of day as a single in a series of cut to shape picture discs such as a heart shape, Viking shape as well as 6 and 8 edged variants. In 1987 a collection of demo tracks would also leak out on picture disc restricted to a mere 150 copies.
The Liege Lord line up at the time was Matt Vinci (bass), Tony Truglio (guitar), Frank Cortese (drums) and Andy Michaud (singer) and Pete McCarthy (2nd guitar). At this point guitarist McCarthy quit the group and was swiftly replaced by Paul Nelson, a man who could claim to have been instructed by no less a player than the esteemed STEVE VAI. Metal Blade Record’s Brian Slagel upon seeing and hearing this new line-up stepped in to snap LIEGE LORD up. The band got back into action with the 1987 effort 'Burn To My Touch', produced by Joe Bouchard of BLUE OYSTER CULT fame. This Album would be responsible for Liege Lord's growing popularity in the U.S. "Blown away just about describes my reaction when hearing this album, Buy or Die." - Metal Rendevous Magazine
Liege Lord was now becoming a band on the rise and sharing the stage with such acts as Talas, Fates Warning, Chastain, Avenger, Sacred Reich, Raven, Anvil, and Overkill, Megadeath, Exodus, Malice, and Anthrax were becoming commonplace. US radio as well as international press were now picking up on Liege Lord. Articles in Hit Parader, Circus, Powerline, Cream, Rip, as well as Billboard helped even more with the band's growing popularity. "An album that impressively joins metal, thrash, and energy with technical guitar skills and song writing prowess. Liege Lord is ready to make waves with Burn to My Touch". Hot Spots: "Legend" and "Castout." - Guitar for the Practicing Musician
The Song Legend from the "Burn" album, would soon after be featured on The Best of Metal Blade Volume 3 - 1988 (Mastered at Capital Records). A compilation album featuring songs from the bands Slayer, Lizzy Borden, Trouble, Fates, and Nasty Savage. Liege Lord's style has been cited by many current metal acts as having influenced them, especially in Europe. During the bands rise, terms such as speed metal, thrash, power metal, were all in their infant stages. Bands were trying to carve their own nitch in this uncategorized musical time, new sounds were being created overnight. To get a true feel for what it was like at that time you have to imagine yourself having 2 albums out on both continents, great press in Europe and only a handful of clubs to play at, on the East coast. On the other hand, the West Coast metal scene was flourishing.
The only way to get your music out to the masses in the East was through Fanzines, College Radio and Word of Mouth. The main club for recognition was in NYC at a club called Lamour's, which today is considered to be one of the premier showcases of the metal bands of that time, spawning the attention to such acts as Metallica, Anthrax, Raven, Overkill, Nuclear Assault, Hades, Helloween, Slayer, Manowar, Carnivore, and yes Liege Lord who was also big part of that scene. It was at this time that the band began touring more, headlining shows up and down the East coast, from as far as Maine to Georgia Arizona to California, again sharing the stage with such bands as Savatage, Megadeath, Exodus, Flotsam and Jetsam, Death, and many more.
It was at this time that Liege Lord’s fans were growing world wide. Yet another line–up was to emerge in 1988 with the introduction of Joe Comeau as Liege Lord’s final front man. This was also the year of what is not only considered to be their greatest release, but "Immortal Classic." "Their best album release, containing a remarkable version of the rainbow classic Kill the King" - Metal Hammer Magazine
Liege Lord’s 3rd and last album was named Master Control, produced by Terry Date (Pantera,Def-Tones) and released on vinyl as well as CD on Metal Blade records
This album was so well received at the time of it's release that it shared the # 1 spot on American College Metal Radio with Metallica. The band began receiving endorsements from major music companies such as ESP Guitars, Randall Amps, Vic Firth, Dean Markley, Shellkey as well as Roto Sound (Guitarist Paul Nelson was pictured in endorsement ads for Randall Amps, which were featured in Guitar World as well as Guitar School Magazine at the time of the CDs release).
Master Control spawned 2 more national tours one with Anvil (originally planed with Motorhead) covering every state in the US, followed by the second with Candlemass back up and down the East coast. Unfortunately at the time of Liege Lord's greatest success and musicianship, the music that Liege Lord (as well as many other bands) had created would spin out of control, leaving many of it's originators left behind. Independent labels of the time which once handled 30-40 bands were also struggling with this change. The 90s had arrived and it was time for Metal to go back into hiding. Liege Lord disbanded in 1990 leaving us with 3 albums now considered to be three of the underground's most sought after classic recordings. Liege Lord's sound flirts with speed, thrash metal and power metal but has complex lyrical and melodic qualities as well. It's ironic that it would be Europe once again that would coax the re-release of the Burn, Master, and Freedom CDs (just 10 years after their original release) in all the major markets! Many of the young head bangers who swore fealty to Liege Lord later infused their own bands with that influence which helped now preserve Liege Lord and their Power Metal legacy forever!
Guitarist Paul Nelson would join the Def Jam artists the STOOLS. Ex-LIEGE LORD singer Joe Comeau would also rack up credits with New Jersey Thrashers OVERKILL as their guitarist and would be fronting Canadian Speed Metal band ANNIHILATOR by 2000. However, Comeau and Nelson would reunite for a one off project in late 2000 cutting their version of 'Too Scared To Run' for a URIAH HEEP tribute album released by the German Century Media label. PAUL NELSON would also issue the solo album 'Look'. The guitarist put in a spate of sessions including appearances on the JASON BECKER tribute 'Warmth In The Wilderness' Vol l and ll, on the ULI ROTH Tribute "Beyond Inspiration" for Finlands Lion Music
LIEGE LORD reunited for a one off performance in 2000 at world's greatest Heavy Metal festival , the 'Wacken Open Air' festival in Germany to an attendance of 40,000 plus. The line-up comprised of Nelson, Comeau, OVERKILL. Nelson soon hooked up with Rock/ Blues legend JOHNNY WINTER as guitarist and songwriter appearing on WINTER's 2005 studio album 'I'm A Bluesman'.Virgin/EMI as well as becoming a member of Winter's touring band still to this day. The year would be capped by Nelson being nominated for a Grammy award for 'I'm A Bluesman' in the 'Best Contemporary Blues Album category 2005' In February 2006 ex-LIEGE LORD man Joe Comeau joined Swedish Metal band TAD MOROSE as their new frontman. Former LEIGE LORD guitarist Tony Truglio joined UPWARDS OF ENDTIME that December In 2007 PAUL NELSON reaches #130 on the Billboard charts with his appearance on the Halifax album “Inevitability of a Strange World” on Drive Thru records.
Credits: Garry Sharpe-Young
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