LORD – “The Second Coming” 1988 (Golden Bear, US) – When it comes to rare albums that cross over between metal and hard rock, this solitary record by California’s LORD stands near the top of the heap along with Survivor, Full Moon & the like. LORD opens this killer slab of vinyl with “Promises,” a beyond-awesome heavy ballad that reminds me of Full Moon’s “Winter City” (it also has an early Priest feel, as well). Usually a band’ll save a cut like this (the few who can write ‘em anyway!) for later on in the album as an ace up their sleeve. These guys just go for it right out of the box. That’s confidence. Guy Lord’s vocals are rich & totally emotional, while the lead guitars of Anthony Romero and Frank Romero are searing to say the least. By the 2nd track, “Burnin,” LORD is completely on fire. Another one that reminds me of Full Moon or perhaps “Force It”-era UFO, it features a stop-start rhythm, another devastating melodic section highlighting Lord’s vocals and more buzz saw axe soloing. It’s only 2 songs in and this record is already better than most passing for metal releases these days (Battlesnake & BOTD excepted…take it easy, Wes & Mark!). Song #3 is “Mr. Death” and it is a headlong train ride into a hellish whirlwind of “Fast As A Shark”-Accept-style riffing, shrieking vocals & howling leads. Whew! The first ½ of “The Second Coming” is now ¾ of the way over (have fun with that, math students) and it’s now brought to a close by a super-metalized version of The Doors’ “The End,” in which Guy L turns in a great interpretation of Morrison’s original and the band (completed by Morris Gonzalez – bass & Phil Guerrero – drums) kicks butt. The first time I listened to this album I was left breathless by the end of Side One and I figured there might be a bit of a let-down when I continued on. Little did I know that this bunch was only getting warmed up!
Side Two of LORD’s “The Second Coming” is one of those 20 minutes of metal that could not possibly be any better. Think Side Two of “Stained Class” or “Vol. 4,” Side One of “Don’t Break The Oath,” you know what I mean? Anyway, first there’s “Snow,” a rapid-fire riffer to open things, riddled by tons of over-the-top lead guitar, something Romero & Paul never seem to get tired of unleashing. Next is “Love Machine,” a total freaking classic-to-end-all-classics. There are so man heavy riffs, rhythm changes and lead breaks here that it’s enough to make your head spin! Also included is an emotion-wracked vocal section about midway through, augmented by awesome backing vox and some cool Uli-inspired lead. DIE FOR A SONG LIKE THIS!!! Of course, if you didn’t, you’d be instantly killed by the Mack truck of “Back To The Asylum,” a mid-pace crunching monster that just punishes the listener ever so pleasurably. And, speaking of pleasurable punishment, the album comes concludes with “Leather Queen,” another mammoth piece of metal songwriting. It’s catchy, heavy and from the middle guitar solo up through the galloping coda, you’ll be in rifftastic ecstasy.
To sum things up, LORD’s “The Second Coming” is an absolute top-shelf metal collectible. Records simply don’t come any better than this, so start trolling the internet to find yourself a copy. You’ll even fall in love with the bad-assed biker pictures of the band on the back cover! 10.0