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Light It Up
Liberty N Justice
Light It Up
Retroactive Records
(Release Date:) January 19, 2010
Christian Rock
Brian Rademacher
5.0 stars

I was a little nervous beforehand with this new release from LIBERTY N JUSTICE because their last album, “Independence Day”, only managed to receive two stars on our site. I personally like the product Justin Murr puts out but the quality of the last release left a little to be desired (not to say it wasn’t still packed with talented musicians).

It’s now been over two years since that release and L N’ J is finally back with their new effort “Light It Up”. Not knowing the quality of the new release I was a little skeptical, but one thing is for sure and that is the talent is back once again. We are talking some heavy-hitters in the melodic hard rock world such as Ted Poley DANGER DANGER, Vic Rivera CRUNCH who wrote seven tracks for this project, C.J. Snare & Bill Leverty of FIREHOUSE, Pete Loran & Steve Brown of TRIXTER, Chris Holmes WASP, Phil Lewis, Oz Fox STRYPER), Phil Collen DEF LEPPARD and the list goes on and on…

The CD opens with the title track “Light It Up” and right off the bat you can hear the production is pumping and with Phil Lewis of L.A. GUNS and his trademark vocals it sets fire to the disc. JK Northrup accompanies Lewis with some nasty guitar licks. If you don’t know about Northrup you gotta check this guy out, he’s one kick-ass writer and guitarist.

Track two features BRIDE’s Dale and Troy Thompson. Check out the screams of Dale Thompson… just amazing. A lot of people shun the Christian stamp but many will miss out on some fantastic jewels in the genre by doing so and BRIDE is just one example. Troy slams the whammy bar as Dale masters the track vocally.

“Blink”, the only female-sung track on “Light It Up” is up next with Lynn Louise Lowrey of VIXEN accompanied by none other than guitarist Eddie Ojeda of TWISTED SISTER. This is just one of the great rockers on the disc. The song has good harmonies and Lowery does a great job. Ojeda is pretty mellow on the track until the later part where he highlights his talent with some great guitar playing.

What can you say about the duo from FIREHOUSE-CJ Snare & Bill Leverty except that these guys have always been a class act. Check out “Do What You Believe” as it’s a truly masterful tune. Snare is one of the premiere vocalists in music and basically whatever he does turns to gold and this track just shines. Leverty himself is also amazing; he posses golden fingers and many look at him as just a guitarist but this guy has pipes too. It’s easily one of my favorite tracks on the disc.

“Man vs. Mother Nature” featuring our good friends Ted Poley of DANGER DANGER and Vic Rivera of CRUNCH (or POLEY/RIVERA collectively), might be my favorite tune on “Light It Up”. Poley is raw and powerful; just a melodic God. Rivera, as many may not know is a genius guitarist, drummer, vocalist, producer and writer. A true kingpin and you will get a chance to hear his talent once again with the debut of CRUNCH is finally released. In the meantime check out “Man vs. Mother Nature”. It’s a great tune and like I said, Poley & Rivera are amazing.

“Treading On Serpents”, which features Les Carlsen of BLOODGOOD and Ox Fox of STRYPER is another good tune and the chorus is one of the best on the disc. Don’t know much about Carlsen but the song does have some elements of VAN HALEN which is killer. Didn’t know Fox could kick it quite like that either. This track may take a couple listens but once you get the vibe going it just burns.

I know I keep saying every track is a favorite track but this is it… I hope… because “Uncle Sam” which features Sheldon Tarsha of TARSHA/ALDER’S APPETITE and Jeff Pilson of DOKKEN/FOREIGNER is killer. Sometimes you never know what you’re going to get and I know Pilson who is a great musician and great guy, but I’m not really familiar with Tarsha but man, Tarsha blows my mind on this one. I just checked out Tarsha and his band TARSHA, who have a new release coming out soon and I gotta get it for sure! If it’s anything like “Uncle Sam” then what a release it’s gonna be!

Kelly Keeling of BATON ROUGE/TSO and Kerri Kelli of ALICE COOPER go the sentimental route on the next track with “Every Reason To Believe”. It’s a soft ballad with great acoustics and Keeling is a presence to be reckoned with.

“Wrestling With God” is up next and it features Pete Loran & Steve Brown of TRIXTER and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal of GN’R/Lita Ford fame. What can I say? I would just love to know how Murr got all these phenomenal musicians to play on LIBERTY N JUSTICE, It’s yet another great tune. You know listening to all these tracks…. hold on Steve Brown and Thal are going off… Ok, I’m back had to listen to that! Where was I? Oh yeah… how did Murr get all these musicians together and if these tracks were on each of these artists individual releases these could be their singles!

Love the down tuning on “Best Time You Never Had” with Chris Jericho, the WWE Wrestler (and main man of FOZZY) plus Phil Collen of DEF LEPPARD. A lot of celebrities think they can crossover to a different medium and some do and have success and some don’t fair as well. Never been a fan of Jericho the wrestler but he puts it in high gear on “Best Time You Never Had”. This is an excellent tune and Jericho impressed me… plus I don’t want him to put me in a back-breaker! Collen is more known for his melodic rock style but he kicks ass on this one.

Harry Hess & Pete Lesperance of HAREM SCAREM fame are featured on “Beautiful Decision”. The tune is more of a pop rock tune that crunches the jaws of stardom, the kiddies would like this one offered up by this Canadian pair.

At first listen I thought “Dead Drunk Gorgeous” was another Ted Poley-sung track but its Marq Torien of BULLETBOYS with the Wildman himself Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P. what a cool tune and I didn’t even know Holmes still played but I guess I was wrong. It’s one of the more hard-rockin’ tunes on the disc.

“Here I am and I bring you too your knees”… Only one person can sing lyrics like that and make you curdle with joy and that’s Robert Mason of BIG COCK/WARRANT/LYNCH MOB fame and he’s accompanied by his current band mate, Jerry Dixon of WARRANT on this one. Mason is a true vocal icon and few have the vocal talent that Mason posses. The song has a great chorus and is just another killer tune amongst many.

It’s really cool when you can release a masterpiece like this with different vocalists and musicians and ending it all with an outstanding ballad in “For Better Or Worse” done by Shawn Pelata of LINE OF FIRE & Stephen Chesney of FRONTIERS. Not two musicians I’m all that familiar with but it is yet another great tune.

You have to give big props to Murr for turning out a quality product this time around and with additional musicians like Eric Rango (the best… and busiest keyboardist in this scene), Terry Ilous XYZ, Chris Dickens MISSION OF ONE, Marc Danzeisen BULLETBOYS/ LITTLE CAESAR, Doug Odell CRUNCH/TNA and John Pine helping out .Murr outdone himself with top-notch musicianship. Definitely check out “Light It Up” because this is the best of the LIBERTY N’ JUSTICE releases IMO.

Track Listing:
  1. Light It Up (Phil Lewis of LA GUNS & JK Northrup)
  2. The Other Thief (Dale and Troy Thompson of BRIDE)
  3. Blink (Lynn Louise Lowrey of VIXEN and Eddie Ojeda of TWISTED SISTER)
  4. Do What You Believe (CJ Snare & Bill Leverty of FIREHOUSE)
  5. Man vs. Mother Nature (Ted Poley of Danger Danger and Vic Rivera of CRUNCH)
  6. Treading On Serpents (Les Carlsen of BLOODGOOD and Ox Fox of STRYPER/ BLOODGOOD)
  7. Uncle Sam (Sheldon Tarsha of TARSHA/ADLER’S APPETITE and Jeff Pilson of DOKKEN/ FOREIGNER)
  8. Every Reason To Believe (Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge/TSO and Kerri Kelli of ALICE COOPER)
  9. Wrestling With God (Pete Loran, Steve Brown of TRIXTER & Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal of GN’R / Lita Ford)
  10. Best Time You Never Had (Chris Jericho (WWE Wrestler/ FOZZY) & Phil Collen of DEF LEPPARD)
  11. Beautiful Decision (Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance of HAREM SCAREM)
  12. Drunk Dead Gorgeous (Marq Torien of BULLETBOYS and Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P.)
  13. Greed (Robert Mason of WARRANT/LYNCH MOB and Jerry Dixon of WARRANT)
  14. For Better Or Worse (Shawn Pelata of LINE OF FIRE & Stephen Chesney of FRONTIERS)

Additional musicians:

  • Eric Ragno,
  • Terry Ilous (XYZ),
  • Chris Dickens (Mission Of One),
  • Marc Danzeisen (Bulletboys/Little Caesar),
  • Doug Odell (Crunch/TNA) &
  • John Pine


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