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Leader Of Down: The Screwtape Letters

Formed by ex-Motorhead guitarist Wurzel and bassist Tim Atkinson, Leader Of Down would, unfortunately, only manage to release their star studded debut album Cascade Into Chaos seven years after their guitarist and founder’s tragic death in 2011. Steeped in the classic NWOBHM sound, but crossed with the intensity that Motorhead always brought to their music, it was quite the album, especially seeing as it featured guest appearances from the likes of Lemmy, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe), Lee Richard (ex-Godsmack), Bruce Foxton (The Jam) and Cliff Evans (Tank).

For album number two Leader Of Down have scaled down on the cast-list, this time only Lionheart and ex-Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton joining the core line up of Atkinson, Matt Baker (vocals), Alex Ward (guitars) and Daniel Akaoui (drums). The six-string legend appearing on the lead single from the The Screwtape Letters, “Hitman” - a belting hammer smash of driven traditional heavy metal that takes us right into classic early Saxon territory - and it has to be said that the guitar trade-offs between Stratton and Ward are as scintillating as hoped for.

Careening along, the ten tracks only just scrape over the 33 minute mark, but why outstay your welcome when what you have to say is already as memorable as what we find here? “Cat Eye Night”and the catchy as hell “”You’re Not” kind of sum things up perfectly, the former being a Motorhead inspired gritty grab of guitars and go-for the throat vocals, while the latter has more groove than should be allowed by law and a chorus to die for. Admittedly, both contain borderline nonsense lyrics, but the ethos here is about rocking hard and having a huge amount of fun along the way - and there’s no doubt that both these tracks and all the rest do exactly that. What is serious though, is the standard of the razor sharp songwriting and the manner in which the four members of this band go about executing them.

Leader Of Down are a welcome blast from the past that still somehow feels pretty current. More importantly, The Screwtape Letters is a massively enjoyable, riff fuelled slab of traditional metal that demands your time and attention.

Track Listing
1. Cat’s Eye Night
2. Holloway Motel
3. Hitman
4. The Screwtape Letters
5. Dodging The Landlord
6. Here’s Johnny
7. Let Them Know Your Name
8. Whiskey Preacher
9. You Might
10. Midnight In London

Added: April 29th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Leader of Down online
Hits: 905
Language: english

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