Classic Rock Bottom

Sledge Leather
Imagine Me Alive
Metal Up Records - 2012

For years, ex-Chastain vocalist Leather Leone was among the missing of the music world. Then she made a guest appearance with the band Sentinel Beast and suddenly she was BACK!

Reuniting with her former Rude Girl bandmate, drummer Sandy Sledge to form The Sledge Leather Project. A lights out performance at the 2011 Keep It True festival in Germany further whetted the appetite for new material from Leone et al. (A DVD of that performance is forthcoming).

The culmination of the fan's and band's desire is Imagine Me Alive.

And alive this album is!

The title track kicks off the album with a hard charging rocking vibe. Leone shreds vocally and the musicianship of Sledge, guitarist Matthias Weisheit, keyboardist Scott Warren and ex-Dio bassist Jimmy Bain is top notch.

There are 6 full-length tracks split up with 5 smaller numbers that are mainly instrumentals. They range from the slow burn of "Torch", a song which is done to sound like a classic LP with all the cracks and pops to "Illusions Opus 1" that reminded me of a Fates Warning instrumental. That one was good.

I liked the track "The Guy Upstairs Lied" though in the middle of the song, the vocals seemed to get a bit muddied in the sound mix.

"Her Father's Daughter" featured a very heavy methodically paced song until the last 1/4 of the track where things pick up. It leads into a piano reprise that was outstandingly beautiful.

"A Taste of Night" was okay but it felt kind of flat to me. However, I really loved "The Lost Forgiveness". The song featured a gothic inspired keyboard sound that made it sound so much heavier.

The stand out track however on the album is "One Glimpse". It starts slow, with just Leone's vocals with a spare piano musical soundtrack before picking up with a sweet guitar line running throughout the remainder of the song. The vocal performance reminded me of the slow material performed by Udo Dirkschneider. By that I mean, it is a hauntingly stark arrangement yet the sharp edge she is known for remains constant at the same time.

It's been a long time "along the battlefield of life" in waiting for some new material featuring Leather Leone. Imagine Me Alive was well worth the wait and still manages to make me want even more.

A welcome return indeed!

Grade: A MINUS

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By the way, the band liked the review when I posted a link to it on their Facebook page. And the drummer shared the link on her own personal Facebook page.


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