It’s that time again travellers. Back to the future we go. Sacred Leather. Ultimate Force. Tonight we’re gonna party like its 1983! Lifting the curtain of mystique for just a second this is Dustin Boltjes of Skeletonwitch’s chance to step from behind the drum stool strap on a new persona “Dee Wrathchild” and rock the fuck out in fingerless leather gloves. It’s nothing new but it is a lot of fun.
Dee fronts the quintet with his brothers in Metaaaaaaal Magnes Le Grand (bass) Jailhouse (drums) JJ Highway and Carloff Blitz (guitars) . Yes I know it is a little Steel Panther.
What these Midwestern warriors offer is mid-eighties metal for those that missed it the first time round or some nostalgia for those of us that were. Dee’s vocals are reminiscent of Neil Turbin on the Anthrax debut record whilst the backing is Judas Priest meets Mercyful Fate. There is not an original thought or riff amongst the seven tracks on this debut. Whether this is a labour of love, a Valentine’s card to teenage years or a cash in I do not know. I suspect the former.
The question that has to be asked when reviewing such an album is whether there is any need for this or should I just listen to Ram It Down and Melissa?
With the recent plethora of retro metal acts- Lost Society, Dead Lord, Venomous Maximus , Enforcer et al still getting heads banging and high top trainers tapping all over the world it appears that there is still an appetite for proto thrash and true metal that falls short of dragon worshipping power.
“Ultimate Force” “Master is Calling” and “Power Thrust” which are the opening salvo from the album could all have fit in the grooves of the early Speed Kills comps. Not quite as fast as early Helloween but with the same Teutonic gusto and pomp. “Watcher” is Mercyful Fate after the King hit puberty with plenty of air guitar moments.
Maiden had Prowler. Priest had Sinner. Sacred Leather have “Prowling Sinner” and it is as much of a slice of molten metal as it sounds. Tight trousers ahoy! (just gotta drop a few stone) .
In true 80’s fashion Sacred Leather offer up “The Lost Destructor/Priest of the Undoer” which has Spinal Tap emblazoned on it like a tramp stamp. Make sure you check the pods before you hit the stage boys!
Rounding things off is an 8 minute ballad about a man who loses his love and can only visit her in his dreams. “Dream Searcher”. It’s as cheesy as it sounds . If your lactose tolerance and ability to ride unicorns is ok you may stick it out. I don’t do dairy so I bailed. This is the sort of stuff I used to throw darts at a picture of Jon Bon Jovi for.
Ballad dross aside “Ultimate Force” is not an Ultimate Farce. It’s a rollicking good giggle to be taken with tongue firmly in cheek and hands on leather clad hips. Sweet ironic fun for the Heavy Hipsters that love a bit of schtick and a happy distraction for the old guard.
(6/10 Matt Mason)