After two years in the making, Sacred Leather were determined to make a mark with their debut full-length album Ultimate Force and without any reservations, they have done just that.
Out February 24, 2018, on Cruz Del Sur Music this album is a fine example of classic metal, harking back to 1983 (specific, I know) which is exactly what the band intended.
The midwest five-piece which makes up Sacred Leather are determined, as vocalist Dee Wrathchild says “to return the true essence of heavy metal to the masses” and this is the perfect vehicle from which to start this quest.
Wrathchild is joined by non-ironically named Magnus Ironslut on bass, Highway and TDH on guitars with Jailhouse bashing the skins and they all gel superbly on Ultimate Force which delivers classic metal in bucketfuls.
SACRED LEATHER – Ultimate Force
The album by Sacred Leather begins with the storming title track and with its dramatic opening vocal and twin leads we know we’re in for a raucous metal ride. In classic NWOBHM style, Wrathchild’s vocals are powerful and soaring yet still somehow muted with the guitars very much taking center stage.
As I’m on the subject of the guitaring, Highway and TDH show exactly what twin leads bring to the party. Depth, variety and a willingness to throw off the shackles and enjoy sustained solos. There are plenty of fast twiddling going on but it’s never forced and always fits the song. However, there is also an equal number of emotional and considered solos so there is something for everybody in there.
I detected numerous influences including Maiden, Priest and indeed early Def Leppard, especially on the opening to “Master Is Calling” which would fit nicely onto High ‘N’ Dry.
“Power Thrust” is a moody thumper, with a decent amount of menace and more top licks to be drunk in.
“Watcher” lowers the standard just a touch but is rescued by Highway and TDH giving it plenty at the end.
Ultimate Force appears to mature as the album goes on as the last 3 tracks show.
We have “Prowling Sinner” with its atmospheric, studied opening and almost bombastic riffs and Wrathchild’s vocals are big and screamy on this treat of a track.
The final two tracks must definitely be filed under ‘epic’ as they clock in at 9:32 and 8:17. I am usually concerned by anything over 5 minutes but needn’t have worried, “The Lost Destructor/Priest of the Undoer” and “Dream Searcher” keep the momentum going throughout and I never looked at my watch once.
“The Lost Destructor/Priest of the Undoer” is clearly divided into two distinct part (I wonder what they can be?), one a pounding rocker and the other an emotional instrumental piece.
“Dream Searcher” is clearly the diamond on this album already full of quality. It reminded me of Priest’s “Dreamer Deceiver” with impassioned vocals where Wrathchild is on top form.
Whilst it is not a fast rocker it is an intense experience all the same and great to hear the twin leads going at it in perfect harmony.
All in all Ultimate Force is indeed a force to be reckoned with and if they really want “to return the true essence of heavy metal to the masses” then this is a fine place to start.