Sledge Leather - Imagine Me Alive

Sledge Leather
Imagine Me Alive
Metal UP
Leather Leone, the leather lunged, female version of Blackie Lawless and heavy metal front-lady extraordinaire known primarily for her Chastain albums as well as her sole, solo album is finally back, after an absence of more than two decades! Along with her old band mate from the all-female band, Rude Girl, that was poised to do big things, in the early 80s, but disbanded before recording their debut, drummer Sandy Sledge, they deliver a tight, lil album of some 11 tracks of rather straightforward, but also, kinda melodic and sophisticated heavy metal, under the moniker Sledge/Leather. Jimmy Bain and Scott Warren formerly members of Dio’s own band – whose leather was a huge fan, handle bass and keyboard duties (even though this recording lineup, seems to have changed with JB, no longer being a member for whatever reasons).
The title track, which also opens the album, is a rather immediate, straightforward rocker, that’s damn good! Everything still seems to be in place. Leather, sounds raspy as ever, maybe a little more mature, but she still has it. Sledge, is steady... and the rest of them guys offer their ample support. The underlying piano motifs are also, so nice and very smartly weaved into the fabric of the song. Lyrically, it’s all about a soul that has passed and tries to make contact with the living, hence the title.
“Torch” is a bit of an interlude, piano based, with some heavily effect ridden, kinda underwater, bubbly vox... it ends with some bizarre German, dialogue that I have no idea, what it’s all about (any German speaking readers, feel free to enlighten me)…
“The Guy Upstairs Lied” is a fast paced number, with furious drumming by Sledge, which supplies some superb tom work, it’s all about, well god not really being there to answer to your prayers I guess, or something-or-other, along these lines.
“Her Father’s Daughter” which is also followed by a haunting piano only reprise of its main theme, is a pacey song that goes from heavy mid tempo, to rather fast and seems to be possible to interpret in a couple of ways, both a theist and an atheist one. It has some very nice keys embellishing it, with a beautiful hook, during the chorus. Leather, sounds really passionate on this one, as she does, pretty much everywhere on the album, but here it's very evident, maybe the song holds a special meaning to her.
“A Taste of Night” is a very epic sounding and really cool number with beautiful passages and again a great performance by leather.
“One Glimpse” is a very timid number, mostly based on piano and on an infinitely sustained guitar/keyb ? Tone.... and it’s about dying but also the spirit carrying on?
“Fast Forgiveness” is 27 seconds of pedal to the metal, metallic fury that acts as an intro that leads inevitably to “The Lost Forgiveness” which is slower, but similar, in scope. This song is about the way we treat each other, (usually bad) and how it doesn’t really change, as things tend to remain the same. There’s a glimmer of hope, that we might try and change this, but not certainty. Believe it or not the song ends with church organs playing, hahaha.
Finally “Sisyphus” which, “Lost Forgiveness” segues in, is a 1 plus minute, violin led outro, mostly instrumental, about, the well-known ancient myth of King Sisyphus, who was punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever, as a result of his hubris to the Gods.
The album is pretty damn good, if not a little short, I’d say. A few more songs wouldn’t hurt or the inclusion of say “a Dio cover” that supposedly made Leather, want to return to the music scene. Secondly, the packaging is rather poor, a simple gate-fold cardboard, without a booklet, more befit to a promo rather than a proper release. If you’re gonna do a physical release, do it right! I mean, this is no real assault on the groups choice, but I’m pretty sure that a 4 page booklet with lyrics and a tray card, would not cost more than this, probably maybe less. At any rate. Other than those 2 minor complains, I’d not find any other reason to not recommend this cool little release to any conscious metal head that likes his metal, old school and undiluted.