Leather – We Are the Chosen (Steamhammer/SPV)Tuesday, 22nd November 2022
Arriving at the third studio album as Leather, vocalist Leather Leone dug down deep for We Are the Chosen to hold nothing back in hopes of captivating the legions who love her powerhouse pipes over the top of classic, traditional-oriented metal music. While II from 2018 put her back on the map, its evident as you take in this new material that these musicians chose to refine these songs to keep the most meat on the bones – every melody, every lead break, every hook or chorus important to establish a memorable record.
Choosing to record at Hertz Studio in Poland allowed Leather and her compatriots that isolation comfort to focus exclusively on the task at hand – bursting with double kick ecstasy in a Priest/Riot-like fashion for “We Take Back Control”. Guitarist Vinnie Tex co-wrote the material with Leather – and his axe skills are more bluesy for a guitar hero than what most followers of Chastain may be used to. The older wah-wah action throughout “Shadows” a prime example of tasteful, emotive finger execution that opens Leather to lower, mysterious melodies in the verses that work to symbiotic perfection. A bit of King Diamond-esque power circa “Welcome Home” appears in the opening riff/tempo sequence for “Tyrants”, while the long-time affinity for Ronnie James Dio is ever-present during the killer ballad “Hallowed Ground”. The younger musicians surrounding Leather possess a youthful take on the work of the artists that they soaked in from the 80’s and 90’s – tuning down a bit to allow a heavier tone without sacrificing the seething bite plus headbanging aspects that keep listeners riveted to return for more.
Favorites change daily – “Who Rules the World” snapping necks in a mid-tempo double kick manner, the shorter dual guitar harmonies sprinkled in for circular build up, while “Always Been Evil” gets the power metal blood in overdrive, Leather in her glory through a metal to the bone vocal performance. The move to Steamhammer/SPV should make Leather resonate more with a wider array of musicians plus get the proper push for better festival slots/ touring ventures. We Are the Chosen is another testament to the strength, might, and eternal timelessness to this genre of metal that most who live and breathe it will make sure it stays relevant forever.