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Sledge Leather: Imagine Me Alive

Reuniting singer Leather Leone (Chastain, Rude Girl, Malibu Barbi) and drummer Sandy Sledge (Rude Girl, Malibu Barbi), the rather clumsily named Sledge Leather not only combine two of the most respected women of metal, but also finds onetime Dio band members Jimmy Bain (bass) and Scott Warren (keyboards) contributing to a debut album that in truth must go down as a missed opportunity. With the band rounded out by the excellent guitarist Matthias Weisheit, the likes of "Imagine Me Alive", "Her Father's Daughter" or "The Lost Forgiveness" are prime cuts of female fronted traditional metal, leaning on the likes of Judas Priest, Saxon, or Accept for inspiration. Weisheit hammers out the riffs with the best of them, while Leather Leone proves that a tough, shredding female voice is every bit as effective on this style of music as any male wail. Add to that the splashes of colour and atmosphere from Warren and the rock solid foundation from the ever impressive Sledge and the ever dependable Bain, and on the face of it, Imagine Me Alive has all the makings of a cracking, muscular debut outing. However on an album of eleven tracks, there are only six fully fledged metal workouts, interspersed by five shorter interludes that range from the strings and electronic explosions of "Sisyphus", the self explanatory "Her Father's Daughter Piano Reprise" and the jazzy guitar noodling of "Illusions Opus I".

Now whether the more theatrical pieces are meant to blend to the proper songs to create some sort of atmospheric concept, I'm not quite sure. However in all honesty, the fact that the short interjections are all, well, pretty much rubbish, detracts hugely from the six, excellent and completely convincing main tracks. Leather really is, when in full flow, a captivating vocal presence and with the talent on show throughout the band, it would actually be more of a surprise if the performances weren't slick and powerful. So why Sledge Leather decided to take what would have made for an excellent EP length release and add the unwelcome, throwaway elements (which only make the whole thing into a release that barely reaches long-player length), I'm really not sure.

As I mentioned previously, there does seem to be a central concept that tries to tie all of the differing aspects of Imagine Me Alive together. However in doing so Sledge Leather have forgotten the main thing and that's to make sure that any deviation from the music is well worth listening to. The six songs-proper on this release would on their own have comfortably scored an impressive and earned four out of five. However rating this album on its overall merits knocks that down to the star rating below...which is a real shame.

Track Listing
1. Imagine Me Alive
2. Torch
3. The Guy Upstairs Lied
4. Illusions Opus I
5. Her Father's Daughter
6. Her Father's Daughter Piano Reprise
7. A Taste Of Night
8. One Glimpse
9. Fast Forgiveness
10. The Lost Forgiveness
11. Sisyphus

Added: July 7th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Sledge Leather Online
Hits: 2428
Language: english

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