Liberty n' Justice

Welcome to Revolution Liberty n' Justice - Welcome to the Revolution (3 Chord Records) 2004

1. "Blind Man's Bluff" [Michael Sweet of Stryper] (3:49)
2. "Noise" [Jamie Rowe of Guardian/Adrian Gale] (3:50)
3. "Shed My Skin" [Lou Gramm of Foreigner] (3:43)
4. "Rebel Son" [Paul Q Pek of One Bad Pig] (4:49)
5. "Only Heaven Knows" [Mitch Malloy] (4:09)
6. "One Word" [Ken Tamplin] (4:19)
7. "Do You Know" [Bob Carlisle] (4:11)
8. "Change Comes Around" [Harry Hess of Harem Scarem and Mike Roe of The 77's] (4:50)
9. "Rise" [Scott Wenzel of Whitecross] (3:42)
10. "The Lord's Prayer" [Robert Fleischman of Journey] (4:26)
11. "It's About Love" [John Schlitt of Petra] (3:30)
12. "Bargain Bin" [Greg X. Volz formerly of Petra] (4:40)
13. "Forever, I Love You" [Doug Phelps of the Kentucky Headhunters] (4:56)
14. "Holy Roller" [Mitch McVicker] (2:49)
15. "Dr. Love" [Michelle Lynn] (5:00)
16. "Cain 2 Abel" [Dale Thompson of Bride] (3:41)
17. "FHL" [Rick Florian of Whiteheart] (4:07)
18. "Foolish Child" [Jeff Fenholt] (3:47)

Liberty n' Justice is a project of Justin Murr and "Welcome to the Revolution" is the result of Justin and a large group of impressive guest musicians an vocalists. A majority of the songs here are in the melodic hard rock category, although at times Justin gets a little more modern here. Jamie Rowe's "Noise" for example, has a slight modern rock feel to it, although this song is very memorable and Jamie Rowe's vocals are fantastic. My favorite track is probably album opener "Blind Man's Bluff" featuring Micheal Sweet on vocals. "Shed My Skin" featuring Lou Gramm on vocals is a nice, worshipful ballad. Most of the songs are very good, although I must confess that I felt the overall disc was a little long. The first three times I listened to this CD I began to grow impatient towards the end of the disc. It's not because the songs on the end are worse than the opening tracks. On the contrary, "Cain to Able" featuring Dale Thompson is a fantastic song, as is the rockin' "It's About Love" featuring John Schlitt and the slow groove of "Dr. Love". I think the problem is that there are far to many light songs stuffed in the middle. Starting at "Shed My Skin", things stay pretty mellow until "One Word" featuring the charismatic Ken Tamplin on vocals. Even this song, which I think is quite good and a standout track on the album, is more of a mid-paced, melodic number. The very next song, "Do You Know", is another mellow, ballad. There are also a few rap-style songs ("Rise", "Bargain Bin", "Holy Roller", "FHL") that I don't really feel worked well with the overall feel of the album. Had this CD featured ten to twelve of the best tracks, rather than seventeen tracks, I think this would have been a more solid album.

Soundtrack of a Soul Liberty n' Justice - Soundtrack of a Soul (independent) 2006

1. "Intro" (:24)
2. "Kings of Hollywood" [Ez Gomer of Jet Circus] (4:00)
3. "Another Nail" [Sebastian Bach] (4:20)
4. "State of Grace" [Russell Arcara of Surgin/Prophet/Arcara] (3:49)
5. "Malice in Wonderland" [Jamie Rowe of Guardian] (4:34)
6. "Grenade" [Dale & Troy Thompson of Bride] (4:02)
7. "Show Me the Way" [Oni Logan of Lynch Mob] (4:18)
8. "Sight Unseen" [Leif Garrett] (4:42)
9. "Up That Hill" [Josh Kramer of Saint] (3:59)
10. "Surreal" [Scott Wenzel of WhiteCross] (1:32)
11. "Flinch" [Tony Harnell of TNT/Westworld] (3:36)
12. "Thy Will Be Done" [Mark Slaughter of Slaughter & Pete Loran of Trixter] (4:22)
13. "Killer Grin" [Stephen Pearcy of Ratt] (3:36)
14. "If The World Could Be Mine" [Joe Cerisano of Trans-Siberian Orchestra] (4:43)
15. "Always Tomorrow" [Ted Poley of Danger Danger] (4:13)
16. "Hope & Pray / Ballad of King David" [Phil Naro of Talas / Peter Criss Band] (3:51)
17. "Make Believe" [Mike Lee of Barren Cross] (3:49)
18. "Outro" (1:54)

What a fantastic album with a very impressive list of guest vocalists and musicians! The main man behind this project is Justin Murr who performs most of the guitar parts and writes all the material. He is without a doubt a fantastic songwriter. Surprisingly, some of the best songs here are the one's you wouldn't expect. I was exceedingly surprised by how good "Sight Unseen" with Leif Garrett was. Listening to this CD for the very first time, there were a few immediate standout songs. One of the heavier tracks, "Grendade" featuring the Thompson brothers, is quite good and seems to really have the Bride sound. Also, "Flinch" featuring Tony Harnell is fantastic. Of course Tony could sing over almost anything and make it sound good, however, the song chosen for him was a good fit and has a very catchy chorus. I think a better song could have been chosen for Saint's Josh Kramer. He does a good job on the melodic power ballad "Up to the Hill", but I think a more intense metal number would have been more appropriate. One of the finer mellows tracks is "If the World Could Be Mine". This song is complete with some sweet violins and excellent vocals from Joe Cerisano, who has a clean but slightly raspy voice. Another song that I thought worked well with the chosen vocalist was "Malice in Wonderland" with Jamie Rowe. Had Guardian or Adrian Gale recorded this song, I think most people would not have flinched. Jamie sounds great and the song is quite good. Honestly, the whole CD is very solid. Excellent musicianship, a great bunch of vocalists, and super songwriting. Any fan of quality melodic heavy metal and hard rock should enjoy this collection of songs. The CD finishes off with a very short message of faith from Justin.

Independence Day Liberty n' Justice - Independence Day (independent) 2007

1. "Doubting Thomas" [John Corabi of ex-Motley Crue/Union] (5:00)
2. "Monkey Dance" [Jack Russell of Great White] (3:29)
3. "Soldier" [Kelly Keaggy of Night Ranger/Mark Slaughter of Slaughter] (4:14)
4. "My Sacrifice" [Shawn Pelata of Line of Fire/Oracle/Trampled Underfoot] (5:26)
5. "Phoenix" [Pete Loran of Trixter] (4:06)
6. "Independence Day" {Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge/TSO] (4:12)
7. "Meet My Monster" [Tony Mills of TNT] (3:46)
8. "Praying for a Miracle" [Ted Poley of Danger Danger] (3:12)
9. "Fade" [Jamie Rowe of Guardian/Adrian Gale] (3:44)
10. "Bullet, Train, Breakdown" [Jamie St. James of Black n Blue/Warrant] (5:00)
11. "Addiction" [Jani Lane] (3:23)
12. "Wake the Dead" [Ed Gomer of Jet Circus] (4:54)
13. "Snake Eat Snake" [David Raymond Reeves of Neon Cross] (4:50)
14. "A Little Bit of Love" [Mark & Shannon Hovland] (3:55)

In 2004 Liberty n' Justice took on a bold new project, creating new melodic hard rock and inviting well known vocalists to sing on each track. This continued in '06 with "Soundtrack of a Soul". In '07 Liberty n' Justice continue this trend, only with a new twist. Whereas "Welcome to the Revolution" and "Soundtrack of a Soul" were hard rockin' albums, "Independence" day is a mostly acoustic rock album, again featuring many well known guest artists including Mark Slaughter (Slaughter), Jamie Rowe (Adrian Gale), Jani Lane, Ed Gomez (Jet Circus), David Raymond Reeves (Neon Cross), Tony Mills (TNT), Jack Russell (Great White), Jamie St. James (Black N Blue/Warrant), etc. However, this album is not an album full of unplugged versions of songs from past albums, but rather all new songs. On first listen the big highlight to me was the cover of Whiteheart's "Independence Day". This is an outstanding cover with vocalist Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge doing the song much justice and putting forth a soulful performance. Another stand out track was Jack Russell on “Monkey Dance”. Russell's always had that whiskey soaked, bluesy voice, that works well in this setting. On the surface the lyrics to this song seem somewhat silly, but in reality they seem to be about addictions that can control a person's life. "Fade" features Jamie Rowe, who is no stranger to acoustic projects. Anyone familiar with Rowe’s performance on the “Swing, Swang, Swung” acoustic offering from his old band Guardian knows that Jamie's voice works well in this setting. This song, along with "Monkey Dance", has one of those killer hooks that will have you singing along within a couple listens. Without going into a song by song review, these were some of the strongest tracks on the disc, although the entire disc is enjoyable. Being a person who prefers to listen to entire albums, as opposed to singles, I didn't find myself wanting to push the skip button on any of these songs. I should also mention that the production here is excellent and sounded as I listened to it several times through my car system. "Independence Day" is wrapped in a fine album cover done by Rexorcist, who has also done work for Tourniquet, Opeth, Ultimatum, among others. I am not sure if my copy is a promo version or not, but my copy included no lyrics and is a CDR pressing, which is disappointing to me.

The Best Of... Liberty N Justice - 4 All: The Best Of LnJ (Versailles Records) 2008

1. "We Have A God" (Derrick LeFevre of Lillian Axe & Larry Worlye of Fear Not) (3:12)
2. "Rage" (Dug Pinnick of King's X) (4:05)
3. "Devil In The Details" (Steve Brown of Trixter) (4:38)
4. "Author Of The Flame" (Dale & Troy Thompson of Bride) (4:40)
5. "Blind Man's Bluff" (Michael Sweet of Stryper) (3:52)
6. "Noise" (Jamie Rowe of Guardian) (3:53)
7. "Shed My Skin" (Lou Gramm of Foreigner) (3:45)
8. "Another Nail" (Sebastian Bach) (4:22)
9. "Sight Unseen" (Leif Garret) (4:44)
10. "Flinch" (Tony Harnell ex-TNT) (3:38)
11. "Thy Will Be Done" (Mark Slaughter of Slaughter & Pete Loran of Trixter) (4:25)
12. "Killer Grin" (Stephen Pearcey of Ratt) (3:38)
13. "Doubting Thoma"s (John Corabi ex-Motley Crue/Ratt/Union) (5:03)
14. "Monkey Dance" (Jack Russell of Great White) (3:31)
15. "Soldier" (Kelly Keagey of Night Ranger & Mark Slaughter of Slaughter/V.V.I.) (4:16)
16. "Independence Day" (Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge/TSO) (4:15)
17. "Praying For A Miracle" (Ted Poley of Danger Danger) (3:14)
18. "Addiction" (Jani Lane of Warrant) (3:23)

I'm not a big fan of "best of" packages. Most of them are full of overplayed hits, or if the band didn't have any hits, it isn't usually their best material chosen for the compilations. Liberty N Justice are a band with who haven't produced any huge "hits" so far. So, this compilation doesn't come off as "just for the money" as many compilations do. Rather, this compilation focuses on some of the best work from each of LnJ's last three releases. Being that LnJ are a band that hires different "known" vocalists to record on their album, this compilation will give new listeners a broad range of vocalists to sample. There are three tracks from 2004's "Welcome To The Revolution" (tracks 5 through 7 above). four from 2006's "Soundtrack Of A Soul" (tracks 8 through 11), while the final six songs were borrowed from the band's 2007 acoustic release "Independence Day". The first four tracks are all new.

Being that this collection was put together by the band, rather than some clueless corporate big wigs, the song selection is superb. Indeed Justin Murr has picked out the cream of the crop, making this a solid listen from beginning to end. I am sure some people will prefer certain vocalists over others, but I really don't feel that any one song completely outshines any other, although I do have a few personal favorites. The Whitecross cover of "Independence Day" sticks out in my mind as one of my favorites. Not only did Kelly Keeling pull off a great vocal performance, but this song was a perfect choice to cover as an acoustic song. I've also always loved "Blind Man's Bluff" with Michael Sweet.

Ahhh, but what's important to guy's like me who already have LnJ's last three albums, the new songs. The album starts off with a fantastic cover of an obscure band called Fear Not. A great song written by the Elephante brothers. Featured on vocals is none other than vocalist Fear Not vocalist Larry Worlye who shares lead vocal duties with Derrick LeFevre of Lillian Axe. An excellent choice for a cover as it was never a very well known song, yet it has enough hook to catch a whale.

Rage" would be reason enough for me to purchase this CD, being a big King's X fan. As I expected, Dug gives one of the best vocal performances of the four new cuts. Despite the song's name, this song is melodic and not overly heavy, although it is recorded with a definite aggression.

Steve Brown of Trixter/Stereo Fallout lends his talents to "Devil In The Details". Again, another strong vocal performance is give here, although this song is certainly not what a Trixter fan might expect. Rather this song is a much more "modern" in approach. This song rides the fence between melodic hard rock and a power ballad.

The last new track is Author Of The Flame featuring Dale & Troy Thompson of Bride. This might actually be my favorite song, matching or surpassing "Rage". This song starts off with a haunting, eerie sound before bursting into a heavy, groove number. Dale turns in a solid vocal performance complete with some Steven Tyler-like screams. This song might be one of the best new Bride songs in a while, yet it's obvoiusly not a Bride song.

To end this rather lengthy review, I must also add that the packaging gave me lots to look at and read as I was listening to this CD. Along with credits for each song, the musical performances are broken down track-by-track. Also, the 20-page, full color, booklet includes mini-bio's about the majority of the vocal performers on this collection.

Light It Up Liberty N Justice - Light It Up (Retroactive Records) 2010

1.   Light it Up (Featuring Phil Lewis of LA Guns) (4:33)
2.   The Other Thief (Featuring Dale & Troy Thompson)   (3:48)
3.   Blink (Featuring Lynn Louise Lowery of Vixen & Eddie Ojeda) (3:43)
4.   Do What You Believe (Featuring CJ Snare & Bill Leverty)    (4:03)
5.   Man Vs Mother Nature (Featuring Ted Poley & Vic Rivera)    (3:40)
6.   Treading On Serpents (Featuring Les Carlsen & Oz Fox)      (4:10)
7.   Uncle Sam (Featuring Sheldon Tarsha & Jeff Pilson) (5:00)
8.   Every Reason To Believe (Featuring Kelly Keeling & Kerri Kelli)    (4:06)
9.   Wrestling With God (Featuring Pete Loran, Steve Brown & Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal)     (4:10)
10. Best Time (Featuring Chris Jericho & Phil Collen)   (4:56)
11. Beautiful Decision (Featuring Harry Hess & Pete Lesperance) (3:27)
12. Drunk Dead Gorgeous (Featuring Marq Torien & Chris Holmes)  (3:03)
13. Greed (Featuring Robert Mason & Jerry Dixon)        (3:37)
14. For Better Or For Worse (Featuring Shawn Pelata & Stephen Chesney)  (4:49)

Justin Murr, under the name Liberty n Justice, continues to crank out his brand of melodic rock. For the most part the sound is rooted in late 80's/early 90's hard rock, never really pushing into heavy metal and rarely touching more modern sounds (save for "Best Time"). Perhaps the most impressive characteristic of this album, as well as the last few Liberty n Justice albums, is the impressive list of guest appearances. Some notable guests include Phil Lewis of L.A. Guns, Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister, CJ Snare & Bill Leverty of Firehouse, Les Carlsen of Bloodgood, Oz Fox of Stryper, Marq Torian  of BulletBoys, Kelly Keeling, Chris Jerico, Chris Holmes, Phil Collin, Ted Poley, etc. This list is quite impressive and gives the album some buzz and interest before even hearing a note.

Once the CD is in the deck, however, the music is what will prove to hold my attention. I must confess, that unlike some of the past LnJ albums, this one didn't really pull me in immediately. It will take several listens to really appreciate the songwriting and the caliber of musicianship. Frankly, Murr excels at writing this form of melodic rock and never forgets to incorporate hooks. However with such a wide range of guests, the sound varies from song to song. For the most part, I prefer the harder rocking songs, such as "The Other Thief", a song that sounds like it could have been off one of the more recent Bride albums. However, the cut that really sticks out in my mind is the beautiful, softer, acoustic based "Reason to Believe" that features Kelly Keeling (Baton Rouge) and Keri Kelli (Alice Cooper). The song has a ton of emotion bleeding from it. "Best Time You Never Had" sees the unlikely pairing of wrestler Chris Jericho (Fozzy) and Def Leppard guitar legend Phil Collen. It's a fairly heavy song with a slightly modern flair and some nice soloing.

Overall, "Light It Up" is a good, if not excellent, melodic rock album. I think the constant change in vocalist is actually the one thing that holds it back from naturally flowing from song to song. This is more of a project, not a band. Frankly, it's more like listening to a compilation CD, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just what anyone should expect when checking out Liberty n Justice. So, other than the minor "flow" complain, it is a highly recommended album for those who enjoy melodic hard rock.

It should also be noted that this is not the intended album cover for this album. The original album cover, which was quite nice, was rejected by the record company due to the possibly of being interpreted as "promoting smoking".

Chasing a Cure Liberty 'N Justice - Chasing a Cure (Roxx) 2011

1. Say Uncle (Paul Shortino of Quiet Riot / Rough Cutt, Ron Keel of Keel & Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister) (4:27)
2. Throwing Stones (Donnie Vie of Enuff Z Nuff & JK Northrup of King Kobra) (4:16)
3. Paige’s Song (Philip Bardowell of Magdalen/Unruly Child/The Beach Boys & Tony Palacios of Guardian) (4:09)
4. Playing God (Terry Ilous of XYZ, Jeff Paris and Richard Kendrick of Near Life Experience) (3:47)
5. Chasing A Cure (Benny Mardones, John Pine & Bill Leverty of Firehouse) (4:29)
6. Black Or White (Terry Ilous of XYZ, Alton Hood of D.O.C., & JK Northrop of King Kobra) (3:57)
7. Quicksand Jesus (Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge)  (5:29)
8. Snake Eat Snake [electric version] (David Raymond Reeves & Don Webster of Neon Cross) (4:53)
9. Butterface (Mark Allen Lanoue of Biloxi & Joshua Perahia of Joshua) (3:56)
10. When Mullets Ruled The World (Philip Bardowell of Magdalen/Unruly Child/The Beach Boys & JK Northrop of King Kobra) (4:16)
11. Ground Zero (Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge, Kerry Livgren of Kansas, & Carmine Appice) (8:20)
12. Eve [demo] (Tommy Denander on guitars) (3:18)
13. Damascus Road [demo]   (Tommy Denander on guitars) (3:43)

"Chasing a Cure" was originally released as a 5-song, download only EP. It was released to try and raise money for The Epilepsy Foundation. It is now a 13 song CD consisting of the original 5 song EP and 8 bonus tracks. As with past Liberty 'n Justice albums, the contributors are a who's who of 80's rock with well know guys like Carmine Appice, Paul Shortino, Eddie Ojeda, Kerry Livegrin, Kelly Keeling, etc. lending a hand. Of course, the main man behind the project is Justin Murr with Vic Rivera lending a hand in the songwriting process. The cover art was done by Rex Zachary, who is becoming well know for his cover designs. I myself was able to lend a hand in the layout of the digi-pack.

"Chasing a Cure" is a fairly melodic and mellow affair. It's almost like listening to an album of power ballads, with most songs oozing melancholy emotion. This is especially true of the original five song EP. "Paige's Song" is an acoustic based song written to and dedicated to Justin Murr's daughter, Trinity Paige Murr,  who struggles with epilepsy. She was diagnosed with epilepsy at agand has battled through daily medication, hospital stays, cluster seizures, comas, three weeks in the ICU and even brain surgery.

Of the bonus tracks, "Butterface" is a modern hard rock song and probably the hardest rocking song on the album. "Eve" is another hard rocker, with a slightly modern flair. The song features strong female vocals, though the vocalist for this song isn't listed. "Snake Eat Snake" is a slow, melodic rocker featuring Neon Cross' David Raymond Reeves on vocals and Don Webster on guitar. This song, "Eve" and "Butterface" are really the only hard rock songs on the album. Overall, I suppose the music would best be described as AOR. I had assumed from the song titled that "When Mullets Ruled the World" would be a humor-filled rocker about the 80's rock scene, but it too is pretty much a ballad, probably best described as an 80's power ballad. "Ground Zero" is an epic, progressive rock song that sounds a bit like Kansas. This might be due to the fact that Kerry Livegrin penned the song. This song is definitely my favorite of the album. It features some stellar guitar work. "Black and White" is a Michael Jackson cover and "Quicksand Jesus" is a Skid Row cover. Not surprisingly, the album ends with another ballad, a demo version of "Damascus Road".

"Chasing a Cure" is the longest EP I own. Thirteen songs would definitely put it in the full length category. Money for the EP goes to a good cause. As such, I highly recommend picking up a copy.

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