Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sledge Leather-Imagine Me Alive

Metal Up Records

Just last week I covered Leather Leone's lone solo release, "Shock Waves", in a Forgotten Gems article. The former Chastain vocalist, who has also played in Malibu Barbie and Rude Girl, has just resurfaced in a new project called Sledge Leather. Now, it should be quite obvious that the "leather" part of Sledge Leather refers to Leather Leone. Well, the "sledge" part is drummer Sandy Sledge (who also plays piano on the album's cuts "Torch" & "One Glimpse") who, besides playing in Warbride and Weaponsvan, played with Leather Leone in Rude Girl and Malibu Barbie. Joining the pair is former Dio members Scott Warren (keyboards) and Jimmy Bain (bass; also ex-Rainbow) as well as Matthias Weisheit (all guitars - rhythm and lead, E-Bow on "One Glimpse'", baritone guitar). There is also a guest appearance by bass player Jeff Subauste on "Fast Forgiveness" and "Sisyphus". Alright, now that we know who plays what on “Imagine Me Alive” let's take a look at what Sledge Leather has to offer. First of all I must state up front that I am a huge Leather Leone fan. As far as I am concerned if you are talking about women of rock and metal then she is one of the all time greats. In fact you could argue that she is quite possibly the best female heavy metal vocalist of all time. Maybe I'm off my rocker (or off my meds), but few singers past or present can touch Leather Leone when it comes to raw talent. So, with that said she sounds great. Has her voice changed since the early days of Chastain? Yeah, I'd say so. That is to be expected though. We all age and go through changes. Leather Leone though can still knock the ball out of the park so no complaints there. Musically, the CD ends up somewhere between hard rock and traditional heavy metal. There are some exceptions though. Take the short instrumental track "Illusions Opus 1" for example. It almost sounds like something you'd expect to hear from Queensrÿche or Fates Warning. And then there is the track "The Lost Forgiveness". The keyboard parts make the track have an almost Evanescence vibe. Only Evanescence would never be considered as heavy as Sledge Leather is. Otherwise, the keyboard is used only as an enhancement on tracks as the sound that is coming through the speakers is quite heavy. The title cut not only opens the album, but ends up as one of the more serious shredders. It is the excellent work of guitarist Matthias Weisheit that really carries the number along. The same goes for the heavy track "The Guy Upstairs Lied". Here you truly hear the Ronnie James Dio influence is Leather's voice although musically it is a bit more power metal than anything I recall Dio ever doing. What else can you say about the slow burner “Father’s Daughter” other than it is emotionally intense. "One Glimpse" might be taking it's time building up, but it does feature some nice guitar work. The album's last track, "Sisyphus" will leave you wanting more. It sounds as if it wants to eventually take off and then.....well, the album is over. With just 11 tracks in all (5 of which are just smaller numbers that are mostly instrumental in nature) "Imagine Me Alive" is one short album. It just squeaks by the 30 minute mark. So, in a way it is more like a glorified EP. That said it can be all yours for a mere $10 (in the U.S. at least) so who can complain? And that includes shipping and handling! Even if it is short on length it still packs a nice punch and has plenty to offer old school and new school metal fans. Follow the link below if your interested and if your a heavy metal fanatic you should be. This album is a nice welcome back present for Leather Leone fans. It's equal parts heavy and melodic, rock and metal and trust me, if your a fan of either Chastain or Leather Leone it is a album you'll want to own. Let's hope that Sledge Leather keeps at it and the next release is not only longer, but right around the bend! After all the years of waiting I think I speak for all fans of Leather Leone when I say "we want more!". Until then "Imagine Me Alive" will have to do.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home