Leatherwolf (1987)



by BlackLlama USER (48 Reviews)
June 20th, 2013 | 8 replies

Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Get ready for some 80’s nostalgia, triple guitar attack style!

Leatherwolf was not your typical sunset strip band even though they may slightly look like one (and well, they DID play the strip back in the day). Starting in 1981 and forging roots firmly entrenched in the NWOBHM (New World of British Heavy Metal) sound they soon found themselves opening for bands like Slayer and Metallica. Their debut album (also called Leatherwolf) is a great piece of nostalgia and well worth a listen. That was the basis though, the cake without icing. In 1987 the band released their 2nd self-titled album. Keeping parts of their heavy metal roots and adding in equal amounts of progressive instrumentation and AOR (Album Oriented Rock) songwriting sensibilities they crafted what would be an excellent yet often forgotten album.

Leading the band and the six sting onslaught was vocalist Michael Olivieri. His voice is well suited for the music, with an approach stuck somewhere firmly between Iron Maiden and Ratt. It has that great glam/AOR tone to it, but he nails enough notes to make sure you know that he can belt it out with the best of the metal crowd. Carey Howe and Jeff Gayer are the bands other two guitarists and simply shred all over this release. Creating a great mix of heavy metal riffage and progressive solo’s and interludes (imagine if Accept and early Queensryche had a child) the auditory onslaught here is intense and well worth your time. Rounding out the band were drummer Dean Roberts and new (for this release) bassist Paul Carman. An interesting aspect of this release is the heavy infusion of keyboards (played by Olivieri) that add even more depth to an already complex release. The production is as crisp as one can get for the mid 80s and holds up extremely well even today.

The mix of songs on Leatherwolf is interesting. Ranging anywhere from Dokken-esque shred fests to the very glam influenced cover of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ there’s a bunch here to love. There is an overall fantasy approach to the songwriting and lends the band a feeling of early power metal (to go along with the rock, NWOBHM, Glam and AOR influences….). While it is effective in spurts this constant jumping takes away from any really cohesive flow that the album may have. Because the tracks jump between so many different styles, it is a release that I can enjoy more in single songs than a prolonged listed. There are two typical ballads here, Share a Dream and Princess of Love. The latter is much better and the former is the weakest track on this release. The track ‘The Calling’ was the single released to promote the record and is one of the strongest songs here. It has a killer riff, excellent solos and a shout along chorus.

There are a ton of bands out there from the mid-80s that were mostly forgotten for decades. With a distinct blend of all the positives in metal with a unique three guitar attack, this one is worth your listening time.

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user ratings (8)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
June 20th 2013


Good review, pos.

I have the next album to this one and I remember enjoying it back in the day.

This mix of AOR and heavy metal can really work.

I recently stumbled upon a Greek band (featuring German singer Michael Bormann) called Redrum and both their albums are an attractive mix of AOR and melodic metal with fantastic vocals.

One minor correction:

Album Oriented Rock

Adult Oriented Rock

Digging: The Sonic Dawn - Into the Long Night

June 20th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

Really, I've always had it as Album Oriented Rock :D Or Stadium Rock. I'll have to google before agreeing with you....

June 20th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

From reading it works either way. Adult Oriented Rock is used in the UK while Album Oriented Rock is used in the US. 6 of one, half dozen of the other type of deal.

July 23rd 2015



Digging: Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown

July 23rd 2015


In the US, AOR was Album-Oriented Rock. Basically 60s and later rock, hard-rock and a touch of heavy metal, including a mixture of the most popular and some deep tracks (which is where the "album" part of the name comes from.) But AOR usually excluded alternative and punk.

AOR was a commercialization of the free-form radio formats that began in the late 60s. These stations were almost always on FM, not AM.

This format has since morphed into "classic rock," and now includes some alternative.

December 29th 2016


Album Rating: 4.5

I can't believe this got a review. HEAR ME CALLING!!

Digging: Shame - Songs of Praise

December 28th 2017



December 28th 2017


Album Rating: 4.5

So I'm not the only freak enjoying these guys, nice

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