posted on 10/2006 By:
Leatherwolf? Nah, really? What the hell am I doing here? Bobbing my head? To LEATHERWOLF? What the fuck?
That was six rhetorical questions in a row, for those of you keeping score.
A band that simply did not interest me when they were relevant, and who I didn't hear about anywhere until right now but on a Jello Biafra bit about bad band names. But the fact - FACT - is this record is not fucking bad. They picked up a new singer (Wade Black, Crimson Glory/Seven Witches), new guitarists (Eric Halpern, Helstar/Destiny's End, and Pete Perez, Riot) and put out a trad metal record that really doesn't suck. All the time. I can't even remember why I didn't want to listen to them way back when, but this thing has a kind of authentic, not quite hair metal, not quite Maiden, not quite Savatage coolness that somehow skirts my autohate for anachronistic acts.
How do they do it? IDUNNO!! But they have 'the thing' and it just somehow all works until the vocalist lets his falsetto show or the songwriting becomes a little too dependent on late 80's cheese. My heart tells me it's Perez that draws them from the fromage-y abyss because I have the love for old Riot, but I can't prove it. it could just as easily be Black's ability to tread on the edge of vibratosis without tripping over, or Dean Roberts' and Geoff Gayer's absolutely old school pounding rhythm section. But SOMETHING makes these sings stay on this side of the fermented chasm. And it's Metal in the classic sense, slightly evil, slightly rock and roll and slightly stupid, but all balls.
Halpern and Perez really just kick ass all through this disc. It's not that often old school riff and chord keeps my attention, and I am impressed as fuck. Off kilter dual chord combinations are the key here, with one guy playing whatever you think he should be and the other under laying it with minors and sevenths and I don't even know what all. All while the rhythm section keeps a constant timer on your tedium, never allowing a rhythm to get stale before tossing you a great twist. It's the best of the old and with a vibrant and stinging production job that keeps everything moving and intense. I am used to hefty death metal textures, and this thing has none of that, but it has a lean athleticism that carries it well.
The bottom line is that, all in all, with a few momentary lapses into 80's self importance, and a little trip to Facelift era Alice in Chains that didn't need to be (but still doesn't suck), this record is fucking brilliant. I don't say this often, but this '80's' band has you by the scrote and will not let go until you are banging your head and pumping your fist in your spandex checker tights and Grim Reaper tour shirt, and fuck you if you don't like it - say goodbye to the nutsack. Rock or die motherfucker, and to hell with your newfangled brutal death and spazzcore. Get the fuck off my lawn if you can't shred. Yeah, get this. Make these guys some money and pay them for doing it like almost no one has since '87. And you johnny come lately trad metal posers? Take a fucking listen to the real thing and despair. You never got it, you never will and now we have proof. Feel that taint 'a tearing....
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