This is the first studio record in seventeen years and there are only two original members left: Geoff Gayer-guitars and Dean Roberts-drums. It's on N.I.L.8. Records in the North American area and Massacre for Europe. New into the fold is ex-Destiny’s End guitarist Eric Halpern and on vocals Wade Black. Mr. Black is no stranger to singing. He was in CRIMSON GLORY and SEVEN WITCHES to name a few.
I was rather disappointed by their 1999 live disc “Wide Open.” It may have had all the original members, but lacked in a certain something that I am not quite sure of. This time out instead of continuing to pump out the pop/glam Metal that made them famous back in the 80’s, they’ve opted for a heavier sound which sounds like a good idea, but whether or not they will be triumphant in this genre remains to be heard. The boys do crank the volume up on “I Am The Law”. The guitars are leaner and meaner while the drums pound away, but it’s Wade’s voice that I never get used to. I have nothing against him, but I never cared for him either. His vox are too whiney, but to his credit they are a little tough sounding on this recording. This isn’t a bad track, but nothing like the glory days.
“King Of The Ward” is another one of those slower paced, but heavy tunes that just goes awry right from the get go. The voice works my nerve and while the skins are being bashed away, they do nothing for me here either. I don’t like the way the song was composed. ‘Behind The Sun” has to be the first track that is really good on here. They are on par with the music. It’s perfectly mid paced with nothing to bog it down. It’s has a little bit of their vintage sound, but refusing to be dated. By the time we hit “Disconnect” which is half way through the album, that is the way they should write their songs if they want to continue in the heavy vein as opposed to the first two. The ball seems to start rolling after a couple of bad tracks. While this isn’t what I really expected, I think that it’s decent, but not to sound mean or anything, but I think this could have been better without Wade and got someone with a stronger set of pipes that doesn’t sound like a dying cat. The bottom line is that if you are a youngster that knows nothing about the LEATHERWOLF legacy and like Metal and like Wade from his previous bands, you will dig this. The old schoolers may dig this too, but I will always go back to the old catalogue before this one.
(Online October 26, 2006)