Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
Beginning as a Judas Priest cover band using the name Deceiver in 1982, Stanford, Connecticut’s Liege Lord came to be in the year 1984. By the time the name change took effect, the band consisted of vocalist Andy Michaud, guitarists Tony Truglio and Pete McCarthy, bassist Matt Vinci, and drummer Frank Cortese.
In ’85 this lineup issued the four-song ‘Demo’ which quickly found favor with local metalheads. This was undoubtedly due to the band’s still-present Judas Priest touches, like a fierce dual guitar attack and powerful, high spectrum vocals. Another EP, ‘The Prodigy Demo’, followed in 1985, as did the band’s début full-length album for Black Dragon Records, ‘Freedom’s Rise’. The band had signed with the French label after Savage Grace’s Christian Logue recommended it to the band.
That album contained an amazing progressive thrash style of heavy metal, one built around astounding guitar work. Solid, competent vocals graced the songs with a banshee-like presence. Those vocals and lyrical content of Liège Lord‘s songs were cutting edge and over the top, especially at that time.
In 1987, Liege Lord issued a string of singles prior to the release of their next studio album. ‘Cast Out/Legend’, ‘Warrior’s Farewell’, and ‘Black Lit Knights’ all preceded the band’s second full-length studio offering.
That would come that same year, via Metal Blade Records, when they released ‘Burn To My Touch’. The band explored more of a speed metal style on this record, their support base continued to grow thanks to global tape traders.
A year later, Liege Lord released their most ambitious work yet, their definitive career-defining album, ‘Master Control’. The record heralded another huge change for the band, with the arrival of new singer Joe Comeau.
Another instantly noticeable change, along with his vocals, was the record’s fantastic production qualities. Whereas the previous two albums had questionable sound quality at best, not Master Control. It was crisp and crunchy, undoubtedly due to uber-producer Terry Date (Pantera, Overkill, Prong, Metal Church, etc.).
Everything came into play on this release, one where the stars aligned and the talents of the band shined through. Incendiary guitars, combative rhythms, and powerhouse drums relentlessly emanate in the music itself. Then there is Comeau! His vocals were so well controlled, full of range and melody when needed, but mostly raw and aggressive.
The story of Liege Lord gets somewhat grainy at this stage, with not a lot of valid info available out there. At some point, the band disbands and the players go in their separate directions, ending up engaged in some respectable endeavors.
Joe Comeau goes on to either sing or play guitar in bands from Annihilator to Overkill. He currently fronts his own band, Duskmachine. Guitarist Anthony Truglio went on to play with Helmet’s Page Hamilton in the band Ghandi, as well as Helmet in recent years. Guitarist Paul Nelson would land with Johnny Winter, where he received a Grammy nomination, as well as performed on and produced a Winter release, ‘Roots’.
Liege Lord would partially reunite in 2012, and headline 2013’s Keep It True Festival XVI to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ‘Master Control’ album’s release. I say ‘partially’, as a new guitarist and drummer, Danny Wacker and Frank Gilchriest (Virgin Steel, Riot – respectively), would be part of the new era.
As of press time, Liege Lord is currently active and playing shows. Without a doubt, they are impressing crowds still with their unique mode of intense, heavy metal.