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Leather Slave - Leather Slave (2014) review

Leather Slave "Leather Slave" (Permanent Records, 2014)

Psychotic, menacing, jarring, frightening, infectious and quite possibly fucking brilliant, Leather Slave are offering up a sacrifice to the lo-fi gods responsible for the shambling corpse known as The Mummies and a host of other blown-out debacles throughout history in the form of the insanely amazing Leather Slave 12-inch for the equally killer Permanent Records label.  The LP is like an ice-pick of fuzzy distortion and blown-out punk rock psychedelia to the brain, an unstoppable shunt of frenzied garage electricity that refuses to let up for the entirety of it’s mind altering forty-three minute runtime!  Opening with “Knife Stunt” Leather Slave are upfront and clear about their mission statement, fuzzy distorted guitars crunching like fresh snow beneath the boots of a mad serial killer roaming the icy deserted streets of the desolate Chicago landscape; Leather Slave are here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and right now they’re all out of bubble gum godamnit.  Further brutalizing the listener, “Knife Stunt” bleeds into “Doors of Hell” literally battering your head and eardrums with clamoring explosions of deafening noise until you’re left in a sense of desperate submission, a crumpled mess in the corner of your room waiting for what hypnotic insanity the band’s going to unleash on you next.  Unraveling and unfurling “Doors of Hell” breaks down into an echoing memory of the brash noise that preceded it and leads the listener even farther down Leather Slave’s twisted rabbit-hole of sound with “Skin Suit”.  If there’s even been a song that’s capable of wrapping up those bizarre and uneasy feelings that crept up your spine the first time you head Frank utter those immortal words to Donnie inside of that darkened theater, it’s “Skin Suit”; “Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?” echoing through your mind over and over again.  While the album is pretty disorienting up to this point, “Skin Suit” takes things to a new level of nearly unprecedented crazy.  The guitar simply unhinges like the jaw of a giant snake, consuming the distorted noise and regurgitating something even more unholy, noises that could only have brewed in the deepest darkest pits of hell.  “I wanna know what it feels like to wear you… and have everyone think I’m you”, I mean come on – that’s some seriously creepy shit; I love it.  The sinister sounds of “Skin Suit” finally cave and give way to the second side of the LP, opening with the breakneck “No Luck”.  At only two and a half minutes “No Luck” may be significantly shorter than anything else on the album, but it sure as hell doesn’t lack any of the power or aggression rocketing out of the gate and embedding itself in the listener’s skull like shrapnel.  The volcanic “Murder Pact” almost feels like a perfect label to place on the unholy deal that you make with the band when you purchase the album; vowing allegiance to only the most devastating and crunchy of riffs, tortured and distorted vocals and blitzkrieg of pummeling drums which compromise Leather Slave.  “Jessica Still Plays” takes the noise and insanity to another level, opening with a crashing minute long wall of sound trundling its’ way into a somehow even more in your face and crazed eruption of sound.  The lyrics that underlie the gnarled sounds of “Jessica Still Plays” have an almost voyeuristic side to them, which teamed with the imagery of children and playgrounds, really typify Leather Slave’s unnerving psychedelic punk rock sound.  Closing out the album “Street Sweeper” lives up to its’ name ten-fold.  The first thing that came to mind when I first read the track listing was a street sweeping truck cleaning up the ice-blanketed roads of Chicago.  From the moment the album starts though, the title takes on a completely new meaning, obviously making reference to the modified ‘automatic’ shotguns which have forged their nickname from rivers of blood in city streets across the nation.  Swirling pools of distortion collect and then burst through the dam, a deluge of skull crushing, face melting punk fury.  There are only a couple hundred copies of the Leather Slave getting pressed up and this release is going to become an indispensible part of any self-respecting noise junky’s record collection, so do yourself a favor a snatch up a copy yesterday!  Permanent has some other big plans in the works so make sure you can an eye on their site for some other sick upcoming releases, but in the meantime cop yourself some Leather Slave…

Review made by Roman Rathert/2015
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