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Leader of Down

The Screwtape Letters

Review by Gary Hill

Take a hard rock sound of bands like Kiss and Nazareth and then bring more pure metal to the mix. That gets you close to what you can expect here. This band was originally formed by the late Würzel of Motörhead fame, so comparisons to that group are valid, but this outfit has its own sound. I love the way they take catchy hook laden songs and crunch them up with a real ferocity. This is their second album, and I previously reviewed the other one. As much as I liked that one, I think this is even stronger.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Cat’s Eye Night

Rapid-fire metal brings the album into being. This is a killer tune that has both catchy hooks and mean riffs.

Holloway Motel
There is a little more of a straight-ahead hard rock sound at play here. Yet, this still has plenty of metal chops. It's another that's screaming hot.
Hitman
To some degree this makes me think of things like Kiss. It has more of a pure metal edge to it than that suggests, though. This is another high energy tune that really works well. Dennis Stratton, formerly of Iron Maiden, makes a guest appearance here.
The Screwtape Letters
Perhaps a bit less metal and more screaming hot hard rock, this has some particularly strong hooks.
Dodging The Landlord
This comes in fierce and more purely metallic. The verse has a more stripped back, hard rock and roll sound to it, though. The chorus is fiery metal, as is the instrumental section. This is another powerhouse.
Here’s Johnny
Another mean and furious metal rocker, this thing is very cool.
Let Them Know Your Name
Coming in even heavier and more intense, this still manages to have some accessible hooks amidst the ferocity.
Whiskey Preacher
This is more along the lines of a hard rocker, versus a metal tune. That said, there is still plenty of crunch to keep it under metal. I really dig the guitar solo on this thing a lot.
You Might
There is a dramatic and unusual vibe to this. Yet it fits well within the context of the album. It's another screaming hot metal stomper. The guitar soloing on this is particularly cool.
Midnight In London
The instrumental break on this one might be the best such section on the whole disc. The riffing on this is meaty, and the cut really rocks. It might be my favorite tune here, making it a great choice for closer.
 
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