We Are The Chosen

rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. We Take Back Control
02. Always Been Evil
03. Shadows
04. Off With Your Head
05. We Are The Chosen
06. Tyrants
07. Hallowed Ground
08. Dark Days
09. Who Rules The World
10. The Glory In The End

One of heavy metal's greatest unsung heroes, Leather Leone, always had a voice that could pin you to the wall and slap you about a bit. First heard on cult US metallers CHASTAIN's 1985 debut "Mystery of Illusion", she is a studs 'n' steel powerhouse who shares pioneering DNA with the likes of DORO, HOLY MOSES's Sabine Classen and other female figureheads from metal's first golden era. Most importantly, she is still on the same blistering form that fueled CHASTAIN classics like "The 7th of Never" (1987).

A heavier, darker counterpart to LEATHER's 2018 opus "Leather II", "We Are the Chosen" is an exercise in pure heavy metal, with a crushing, modern production that gives the singer the perfect platform. Leone sings the living shit out of each and every one of these songs, from the monstrous speed metal of "We Take Back Control" through to the even more monstrous speed metal of "The Glory In The End". With a startling range that frequently dissolves into demonic screech, she tears through black-hearted anthems like "Always Been Evil" and "Off With Your Head" like a woman possessed, with DIO-like levels of dramatic presence, and a dense, obsidian vibrato that refuses to quit. On the lurching blues of "Shadows", Leone lets rip like an soul diva from the depths of Hell; on the cobwebbed and unholy balladry of "Hallowed Ground", she shimmies across the octaves with the finesse of a master.

The title track is a particularly fine example of modern, traditional metal and promises to be a nailed-on live favorite, and not just because it features some enjoyably thuggish gang vocals and an instantly singable chorus. Ultimately, Leather Leone is incredibly adept at selling the sentiment of a song, and all those years of experience have only sharpened her expressive intuition. Whether it's the high-octane swashbuckling of "Tyrants" or the mutinous call to arms of "Who Rules The World", these songs are shrewdly positioned at a musical midpoint between European power metal and its grittier and darker US equivalent, with Leone's timeless bellow as the glue that holds it all together. Again, her band are magnificent throughout, casually shapeshifting from all-out thrash to the sumptuously symphonic without losing one shred of band identity.

Not just a fine and ferocious melodic metal record, but one of the most powerful records she has ever made, "We Are The Chosen" is what happens when greatness grits its teeth and keeps chasing the dream. LEATHER forever. This fucking slays.

Author: Dom Lawson
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