Leather - II

Leather II cover
Divebomb Records / High Roller Records
Obviously Leather Leone made a name for herself as the leather lunged vocalist of a good number of Chastain albums in the 80s. Now she also did release a solo album “Shock Waves” in 1989, just between “Voice of the Cult” and “For Those Who Dare”, an album written by Chastain and her, but bizarrely enough performed by Michael Harris (Darkology, Arch Rival, Thought Chamber) and also feat writing credits by both members of Manila Road, but also Cannibal Corpse! Go figure!
Still some 3 decades later and since Leather seems to have broken the silence after some 2 decades away from the music scene – she releases a second “solo” album with a band she seems to have formulated while touring South America, Colombia to be specific.
Stylistically, the album is straight ahead no frills heavy metal, with impressive guitar chops, but probably a little less refined riffing. Leather’s voice holds together reasonably well, as she channels the spirit of Dio’s rougher moments with conviction throughout. Songwriting wise it’s a fair effort, that does tire a little in places, because of its one track mind when it comes to composition, but on the other hand does what it does, well enough and unapologetically.
Tracks like the ferocious “Juggernaut”, “The Outsider” and “Lost at Midnite” are strong entries but if there wasn’t enough pluralism in the guitar work and especially some quite capable soloing, they might have fallen a bit flat as they hardly dare to take chances with the arrangements. “The One” is another minor highlight, but again only because of the conviction and pace and not because it’s something really special. “Annabelle” tries to be something of a more melodic song – not exactly a ballad, but ultimately loses the plot… the following track go through the motions with more or less success, until “Let Me Kneel”, which is probably one of the stronger songs toward the end of the album. “American Woman” ain’t a cover, but an original, but somehow, I wish it were one.
Different than its predecessor, this album doesn’t reach the lofty heights that some of the past entries in Leather’s discography did, but on the other hand, it doesn’t feel out of place in the canon of releases either. I’m mostly disappointed, by the lack of invention and the somewhat fuzzy production, which might fit the retro style, but could have been a little better and fuller sounding.