Visual Lies was Lizzy Borden's third album, and the one where the L.A.-based glam metal band made the final leap into poodle-haired mediocrity. Their first studio album, Love You to Pieces, had its moments, and 1986's Menace to Society was an impressive blend of hard rock intensity and pop gloss. Unfortunately, on Visual Lies, the pop gloss starts to overwhelm the sound. Veteran pop-metal producer Max Norman (Ozzy Osbourne, etc.) takes over arranging and mixing chores in the manner of Mutt Lange's work with Def Leppard, whose Pyromania is the obvious sonic blueprint for the layers of backing vocals and the hard-candy crunch of the politely distorted guitars and walloping (sequenced-sounding) drums. The combination of Norman's slick production and frontman Lizzy Borden's appealingly whiny vocals would be a better one if the songwriting were sharper, but these songs are frustratingly light on memorable hooks, which only shows up the weakness and derivative quality of the lyrics and melodies. Instead of being Lizzy Borden's commercial breakthrough, Visual Lies is the beginning of the end.
(LP - Metal Blade #251876)