Leathürbitch – Into the Night (High Roller Records)Monday, 3rd June 2019
The Northwestern metal scene in the United States has been a prime spot for sustainable power/speed bands for quite a while – reaching back into the 1980’s. Leathürbitch from Portland, Oregon aim to add their name to a list of newer bands blazing that trail for the genre, together for a few short years and releasing a self-titled EP that caught the attention of German label High Roller Records to sign the band for an eight-song, full-length effort Into the Night. The quintet injects a bit of that street/sleaze level aesthetic in spots while also going for broke in terms of banshee screams plus tons of easy on the ears gang choruses and furious lead break displays to ensure that this still remains 100% metal to the bone.
As crazy as some of the divebomb whammy bar antics may be during “I Want What You Got”, the crux of the arrangement and main parts provide that mid-tempo swagger necessary to get fans clapping and clamoring along – while the follow-up “Sleaze City” takes on early Black ‘n’ Blue thrown through a bit of that late 70’s Judas Priest/ Accept speed loop. Vocalist Joel Starr has an edgy personality that can irritate some and enthrall others. He’s not going to be in an upper tier Dickinson/Dio/ Halford category with ability or inflections, instead he has that charismatic, circus leader appeal that is part glam, part metal to carry “I’m Insane” and the double-kick fueled “L.U.S.T.” to delightful headbanging devotees. This is a record where Leathürbitch doesn’t front load the hits and leave the second half to drag with half-baked ideas – the Ozzy-esque guitar runs throughout “The Search” sure to raise hands and adrenaline between the upper shrieks and thunderous drum fills. The band picture for the front cover and logo also subscribe to a black and white era where the imagery matches what you’ll get musically from the group – it cements their love of the 1970’s/80’s, right down to the Charlie Koryn/ Joel Grind recording team that leave the tones and production basic and in your face.
If names like Bitch, Lizzy Borden, early TKO, Black ‘n Blue, and the like come into your horizon, that will give you some idea of where Leathürbitch look for inspiration on this record. While not marquee names, the execution and fire for metal keeps Into the Night very thrilling and sure to make alcohol-fueled parties a welcome addition to the playlists.