Any Old School Metal fan worth his or her salt knows the name Leather Leone. Not only has she been the legendary lead singer of CHASTAIN for years, but she is also an accomplished solo artist. Why do I bring this up? Because her solo band LEATHER has just released their new album II (out now, Divebomb Records) and goddamn is it a banger!! If you love traditional Heavy Metal in the vein of JUDAS PRIEST, DIO, and WARLOCK, then this record is right up your alley. Fist-pumping anthems abound, and the band she has around her do a top notch job on these songs. The guys are from Brazil and quite frankly they play their asses off.
One listen to opener “Juggernaut” and you’ll see they’re not fucking around. Leather sounds like a woman possessed, while the twin guitar attack of Vinnie Tex and Daemon Ross burn with a white hot flame. And the combo of drummer Braulio Drumond and Thiago Velasquez set the roof on fire as they take off like a Kentucky Derby winner. THIS is how you start a record, people. Oh, and then the guitar guys go off into some dual harmonized leads followed by some individual shredding. I honestly was left going, “What the FUCK just happened?!?” when it was over, that’s how intense it was. Man alive, that’s some good stuff!
“The Outsider” is next and it’s also an asskicker. This is one of those songs I hope makes its way into future setlists, and the lyrics really tell a story. I can only hope a song like this inspires young girls everywhere to pick up a mic and sing their hearts out. “Lost At Midnite” has that killer guitar riff that makes you want to headbang wherever you are, whether that’s at home, work, or the grocery store. We get a reprieve from the breakneck pace with “Black Smoke”, or so we think. The verse is a total fake out because the chorus is a runner for sure. And now we come to my favorite track in “The One.” Leather sounds like she’s on fire, and the boys in the band swing for the fences the whole time. Holy fuck do I love this song!!
“Annabelle” is really interesting because it’s a change of pace, but it’s also a song I could totally see Ronnie James Dio singing back in his BLACK SABBATH days. All Hell breaks loose for “Hidden In the Dark”, and leather and Co. are full of piss and vinegar. These boys really play well together, but with every galloping anthem I have to wonder if they’re out to prove something. And if they are, good on them. Because this is a unit that has gelled like nobody’s business. “Sleep Deep” is a track that has an off-time vibe to it, something I always love. Leather sounds very, very good on this one, and the band once again kills it.
“Let Me Kneel” is off to the races and basically screams, “Get the fuck out of my way, Bitches!!” From the first note to the last. It’s basically Kickassery 101, just so’s you know. Meanwhile “American Woman” is so empowering I can’t even put it into words. Leather spits venom with a vengeance, but she also sings the verses and chorus with passion and conviction, making this a winner on an album full of them. Closing us out is “Give Me Reason” which is an absolute pedal to the metal song designed for fast driving.
Look, at the end of the day II is a really fucking great album. LEATHER is a band that has serious legs. And if Leather Leone plans to tour and make more music with these guys then I am all for it and then some. In the meantime I’ll be sitting here waiting for III, because I know it’s coming! Oh, and by the way, this record will 100% be on my Top Albums of 2018 List in December. THAT’S how fucking great it is!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM