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World Asylum
(Leatherwolf Music)

In 1999, ten years after the release of their last studio album "Street Ready", L.A.'s LEATHERWOLF were finally hungry for Metal again, played a couple of re-union shows und then returned to the scene with the impressive, self-financed live album "Wide Open". This disc featured a very cool selection of tracks of all of their three albums, at the time still performed in their classic line-up (Mike Olivieri - vocals, Geoff Gayer / Carey Howe - guitars, Paul Carman - bass and Dean Roberts - drums). Olivieri, Howe and Carman left the band shortly after (mainly due to personal reasons), so this constellation unfortunately fell apart rather quickly again. But the band wasn't ready'n'willing to throw in the towel and did a three-song demo with RACER X frontman Jeff Martin... For some reason that didn't seem to work out either, so after a search for a new suitable frontman they finally recruited Wade Black (CRIMSON GLORY, SEVEN WITCHES) in 2005. The guitar- and bass-positions were completed by Eric Haltern (Z-LOT-Z, DESTINY'S END, HELSTAR) and Pete Perez (RIOT, SPASTIC INK) respectively. And those two definitely were a perfect choice, as they come from a similar traditional Metal background and therefore exactly understand what LEATHERWOLF musically is all about. You can hear that in an impressive manner on the new studio album "World Asylum". Haltern's guitar duells with Geoff Gayer exactly recall the great moments of the band's early days, so he obviously fills in Carey Howe's shoes perfectly, while Pete Perez delivers an amazing job on bass. Together with drummer Dean Roberts he creates a very strong, powerful foundation of the new LEATHERWOLF material. I'm not completely convinced by Wade Black's part though, cause even though he's a very strong vocalist, he unfortunately rarely demonstrates that and focuses too much on his angry, midrange side. From what I understood the band wanted a return to their heavier side (mission accomplished!), but you can easily deliver heavier music with more diverse vocals in order to keep the songs more exciting. That Wade can pull it off a lot better is perfectly reflected in track no.3, 'Behind The Gun', which to me is a total standout on the record. It's heavy, yet very melodic, got some amazing guitarwork and harmonies to it and offers his wide vocal range. That's what LEATHERWOLF has always been about and what fans of their previous releases surely expect from them! So, as far as the songwriting itself is concerned the new material turned out extremely well and apart from some little (more rough sounding) modern overtones here and there it's still easily recognizable as typical LEATHERWOLF. If the "World Asylum" follow-up record should feature more of those great vocal-lines again, the "new" LEATHERWOLF is definitely gonna be back with full force again! The CD is on sale through their website

Frank Stöver

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