Liberty N' Justice - Soundtrack Of A Soul
LNJ Records
Melodic Hard Rock
18 songs (65'51)
Release year: 2006
Liberty N' Justice
Reviewed by Marty
Initially formed in 1991, founding members Justin Murr and Patrick Marchand released several albums throughout the 90's before Justin's self-imposed exile from the music business. His strong Christian faith and divine inspiration was apparently the driving force that steered him back into recording again with 2005's Welcome To The Revolution; a collection of melodic hard rock tracks that featured many guest vocalists including Michael Sweet (Stryper) and Lou Gramm (ex-Foreigner). However, the inclusion of rap artists resulted in a rather disjointed effort but the straight ahead 80's style melodic hard rock tracks on that album were solid and a sign of bigger and better things to come with this, the follow-up, entitled Soundtrack Of A Soul. Guest musicians include Mikkey Dee (Motorhead), Tim Gaines (ex-Stryper) and Harry Hess (Harem Scarem) as well as several guitarists including Mark Slaughter with Justin Murr himself playing bass on a few tracks. Like Welcome To The Revolution, an ensemble cast of guest vocalists are used on this album that covers a wide range of Christian artists as well as some of the most known singers in the hard rock genre including:

EZ Gomer (Jet Circus)
Sebastian Bach
Russell Arcara (Surgin/Prophet/Arcara)
Jamie Rowe (Guardian)
Dale and Troy Thompson (Bride)
Oni Logan (Lynch Mob)
Leif Garrett
Josh Kramer (Saint)
Scott Wenzel (White Cross)
Tony Harnell (ex-TNT, Starbreaker)
Mark Slaughter (Slaughter)
Pete Loran (Trixter)
Stephen Pearcy (Ratt)
Joe Cerisano (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
Ted Poley (Danger Danger)
Phil Naro (Talas)
Mike Lee (Barren Cross)

After an intro that features a few lines borrowed from Jack Black's School Of Rock, the album kicks off with a great riff driven track entitled Kings Of Hollywood. Ez Gomer of Jet Circus provides a solid vocal performance that covers lots of ground including 80's hard rock in the L.A. Guns vein with some very modern Black Label Society styled guitar riffs. Sebastian Bach provides the vocals for Another Nail, a track that although features his trademark vocals, veers away from his normal musical style with it's softer melodic hard rack feel. The entire album is a very diverse collection of 80's influenced melodic hard rock that leans heavily towards the more commercial aspects of the 80's sound with State Of Grace featuring Russell Arcara (Surgin/Prophet/Arcara) even venturing into classic Bon Jovi territory. Things take on more of a heavy metal slant with Grenade, complete with heavy Velvet Revolver like riffs and the vocals of both Dale and Troy Thompson (Bride). One of the real surprises is the Leif Garrett track Sight Unseen. The washed-up ex 70's teen idol actually does a pretty decent job with this modern hard rock flavored song. Flinch, one of the better tracks, features Tony Harnell (ex-TNT, Starbreaker) and uses detuned guitars for a more modern heavier feel. Lots of melody in Tony's voice along with some more modern vocal effects makes for a great track. Mark Slaughter is featured on Thy Will Be Done, a mix of soft and heavier segments with the heavier sections reserved for the chorus sections. Other notables include the Journey flavored melodic hard rock track Always Tomorrow with Ted Poley (Danger Danger) on vocals and the soaring acoustic guitar ballad Make Believe that features the vocals of Mike Lee (Barren Cross). A few take on a more laid back acoustic approach with the majority of the songs firmly locked into the 80's Dokken, Slaughter, Mr. Big styles. I have to mention Joe Cerisano's (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) performance on the powerful piano ballad If The World Could Be Mine. The vibrato in his voice and emotional style really summons the ghosts of David Byron (classic Uriah Heep).

Although there are Christian overtones to many of the tracks, it's not overly preachy but does draw comparisons to many of Justin Murr's life experiences with classic biblical events and other Christian symbolisms and ideals. However, I could really do without his attempt to convert everyone with his spoken rant at the outro to this CD but otherwise, this is a surprisingly solid collection of melodic hard rock that has lots of variety and styles and great song writing. All of the guest vocalists get writing credits for the songs that they perform and as a whole, this album gets better and better with each spin and is a great CD to put on if you need a great fix of 80's style melodic hard rock but have worn out all the classics from that era. Overall, it really does have a "soundtrack" feel to it. In this case, it's not a movie soundtrack but the Soundtrack Of A Soul....Justin Murr's soul in this case.

Killing Songs :
Kings Of Hollywood, Grenade, Flinch, Thy Will Be Done, Always Tomorrow and Make Believe
Marty quoted 80 / 100
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