Lechery - We Are All Born Evil - (7.5/10)
Published on May 2, 2018
First impressions work both ways. Metalheads are a group of people who can provide important examples for each outcome. On seeing a long-haired, black-clad figure with a Slayer shirt, many people would decide that this person is probably angry and anti-social, perhaps even untrustworthy; they would certainly not feel joy about communicating with this stereotypical metalhead. On doing so, however, the common or garden variety human being would probably find the metalhead to be normal in almost every way, though they may possibly speak louder than others due to likely hearing damage. On the flipside, if you are also a metalhead, how would you feel about a prospective conversation with a fellow Slayer fan. Excited? Pleased? Satisfied? Surely one of the above, no? But imagine that, upon asking this random metalhead which Slayer song they would have played at their funeral (probably not “Hell Awaits” or “Mandatory Suicide”, though “Reborn” might be interesting), they give an inconceivable response – “I prefer Bon Jovi.” Words cannot express your feelings.
Lechery’s third album certainly doesn’t mislead listeners to the same awful extent, but it can also lead to misunderstandings if judged from its external appearance. A group named Lechery who release the album We Are All Born Evil (with that cover art, no less) should certainly appeal more to Slayer fans than those of Bon Jovi, who – barring a love of white hi-tops – share nothing in common. The Satan-licking-a-semi-nude-nun cover image might suggest more of a campy Mercyful Fate angle to the music within, but these Swedes dodge expectations by ending up at a juncture where hard rock meets ‘80s heavy metal, flashing influences like Accept, Skid Row, and Saxon with all the confidence of a group ignorant of at least 25 years of history. Singing about heavy metal (or even “rock and roll” during “Spineless”, on which a Hammond organ can be heard) and sending strutting guitar riffs to the front of the sound certainly doesn’t help this to meet any of the obligations placed on We Are All Born Evil by its first impression.
Then again, expressing dissatisfaction about the band’s askew image can only last for so long, so it’s quite possible that fans of melodic and anthemic heavy metal will come round to the experience after the second listen, as if preconceptions about the Slayer t-shirt have been dispelled and you realize that “Livin’ On a Prayer” might be a more suitable song for your funeral than “Raining Blood”. In any case, the muscular guitar tone that pumps straight out of opener “Heavy Metal Invasion” is a major attraction for anyone who liked recent Accept efforts, something that Martin Bengtsson’s powerful and masculine vocals back up with several sterling choruses. As with the stalwart Germans, you’re more likely to be first-pumping your way through “Hold On to the Night” and “Let It Out” than injuring any neck muscles, though that’s not to say that a slight speed metal influence on “Rule the World” and “Breaker of Chains” doesn’t hot things up slightly, while the power metal credentials shown most clearly on “Even a Hero Must Die” offer a mildly different variety of chest-beating.
There is something heroic about the four-piece ripping into these 10 compositions, which is bound to raise the pulse of seasoned fans and newcomers alike. The effect is helped by the consistency of the songs, of which “Sacrifice” and “Tip of the Whip” are marginally weakest and “Rule the World” and “Heavy Metal Invasion” slightly the most memorable, though the similarity of the formula does prevent We Are All Born Evil from having significant replay value. The emphasis placed on riffing and vocals means that the rhythm section has very little chance to stand out, nor do the solos get the best deal in the mix since they come through quieter and less ballsy than one might like. However, probably the biggest factor in determining Lechery’s success on their third album is that the songs attempt nothing new, neither from the perspective of the band’s influences nor within the context of the album itself.
A growing number of modern bands are attempting this kind of true metal and most share the same goals as Lechery, highlighting the great features of Judas Priest and Accept while ignoring the parts that they don’t care about. That means that We Are All Born Evil needs to do an awful lot to stand out, which might in part be a reason to thank the title and cover art, though ultimately there isn’t a great deal unique about the way these Swedes ply their craft. On the other hand, any fans of the trad metal revival will have plenty to look forward to throughout the well-judged running time and can add another very solid album to the ranks of their collection. Just don’t file it under ‘Satanic’.