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Leather - Shock Waves (30th Anniversary Remaster)

Shock Waves
by Rachel Montgomery at 18 June 2019, 4:08 AM

When I first heard LEATHER’s re-release of their album “Shock Waves”, the production value suggested it was a contemporary album done in an 80s style. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned it was a remastering of a hidden gem from the era. If you’re into female acts from the decade such as PAT BENETAR or LITA FORD, LEATHER’s album is worth checking out. However, if you’re over heavy symphonics, tuned-down treble and other hallmarks of the era, you may have a different opinion.

The first two tracks give us rocking, fast-paced hits that have all the pomp of late 80s metal. It had Hair Metal, Power Metal, and some Thrash Metal elements thrown in, led by Leather Leone’s powerful, scraggly voice. While Leone has a good command of her voice (sings on-key, hits the notes without any clear pitch issues and the songs are tailored to her range), the hoarse, raw quality can be a little overbearing for my taste. “Shock Waves”, the third track on the album, shows off her vocal quality well. I also enjoyed the guitar style, specifically the sweeps and the helicopter elements.

The slower songs, such as “In a Dream” and “Something in This Life” have wonderful arpeggio chords that sound beautiful. However, in the latter track, I’m not a fan of the loose snare. I think these songs highlight a paradox I have with the music: I enjoy Leone’s vocals more on faster, harder tracks, but I prefer the instrumentals on the slower songs. Of the songs, “Diamonds are for Real” is the most 80s, thematically and instrumentally. Everything from the materialist lyrical content to the loose treble is stylistically a product of the decade. As I’ve said, if you love 80s rock, you will love this song.

My personal favorite is “Catastrophic Heaven” because Leone’s vocals are utilized the best here. They also use the stylings I don’t care for, such as tuned-down drums and guitars, to the song’s thematic advantage to make the song edgier. I even liked the high-pitched guitar solo. Plus, the live bonus track at the end of the album shows even further that Leone can sing with the same quality live as in the studio.

As for the other bonus track, I don’t believe the band works well with acoustics. I’m already not a fan of “Diamonds Are Forever” because I think it’s too dated. I wish they would have done an acoustic version of one of their slower songs instead to showcase the great chords.

Overall, it’s a wonderfully remastered album, but the content is hit or miss. If you love 80s, this is for you. If not, keep scrolling.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. All Your Neon
2. The Battlefield of Life
3. Shock Waves
4. In a Dream
5. Something in This Life
6. Diamonds Are for Real
7. It's Still in Your Eyes
8. Catastrophic Heaven
9. No Place Called Home
10. Diamonds Are for Real (Demo)
11. Catastrophic Heaven (Live)
Leather Leone – Vocals
Michael Harris – Guitars
David Harbour – Bass
John Luke Hebert – Drums
David T Chastain – Guitars (bonus tracks only)
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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Edited 27 May 2020

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