Sacred Leather – Ultimate Force (2018)

If you like the way that heavy metal sounds, then you’re going to like Sacred Leather. The Indiana based quintet (which features members of Demiricous, Kvlthammer, Christ Beheaded and ex-Coffinworm – what? Coffinworm split-up? How? Why? I loved Coffinworm, this is depressing news. Forgive me for living under a rock) worked hard to bang out heavy metal classics for the new generation (or maybe just us old heads) with the same attention to detail that might have accompanied the record if it had released right along with the Priest, Saxon, Accept, Mercyful Fate and Manilla Road albums of the genre’s heyday. Best of all, Dee Wratchchild belts out some major highs, which make me hopeful that Demiricous Three might feature those in addition to the Slayer inspired death that he’s been pursuing. It would make for a nice change of pace. Though I know that musicians form multiple bands in order to unleash other sides to themselves and that’s what happened here. The guitarists (JJ Highway and Carloff Blitz) also play in a black n’ roll act called Kvlthammer, which I would again; have never expected from the guys behind Coffinworm. I guess the whole doom and gloom mentality of said act was getting a bit too negative for them, (and yeah, some of their material was truly chilling) so going back to the genre’s roots felt like a much better idea. This is put into practice when a real masterpiece in “Dream Searcher” which absolutely screams classic Priest at their most potent level of melancholy, quickly comes to the forefront and makes me miss Coffinworm a bit less. Obviously these gentlemen are talented in nearly every type of musical style that they pursue, especially in so far as the guitar work is concerned, as Blitz and Highway tear up the place with what I’d consider to be an album where not one frail moment can be found.

All in all, the record features amazing leads, a warm eighties friendly production value and enough authentic nostalgia to appeal to classic metal fans around the world. This isn’t one of those retro-reboots, as these guys truly knocked it far out of the park and I’m sure that their covers are just as great as their originals. Which puzzles me just a bit, as I would have expected maybe one or two classic covers to be featured on the album that maybe aren’t quite the mainstream hits we might get with other post-golden age heavy metal acts. That being said, I’m not one to complain about forty minutes of truly memorable heavy metal might, which is a definite step in the right direction, especially where I’m constantly hounded by extreme metal acts of all sorts and varieties that seem to be more interested with how speedy and technical they can play the guitar, rather than how tasteful they can make the sounds coming out of it. Though The Grim Lord’s rant about how the current generation has forgotten how to play tasteful riffs and melodies can wait for another time. That being said, I really don’t feel that any fans of classic heavy metal are going to have an issue with this, and if you do – you’ve forgotten the faces of your forefathers. This is the music as I remember it, and hearing these guys bring out absolute ear candy in closer “The Lost Destructor/Priest Of The Undoer” makes me even more satisfied and nearly set in my convictions regarding classic heavy metal as being one of the best sounds that man has ever conceived. As I’ve mentioned, I often write reviews while playing the album a subsequent time, so I’m just sitting back here in my broken computer chair while the pleasant sounds of Highway and Blitz leave me in a state of orgasmic bliss. I’ll bet it sounds even better live. Prepare to rock out at the link below.

(7 Tracks, 41:00)

8/10

Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)

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