Leather Leaf – ‘Desecrated Minds’ (Self- Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Marc Leach   
Friday, 27 October 2017 04:00

Leather Leaf artworkFor those of you that took the time to read my review of ‘Ravages Of Time’ by Northern Irish band Selene, you will have read that I noted that when it comes to female fronted symphonic metal, a band will either have it or they don’t. So, when Texan band Leather Leaf switched to this style from their hard rock style, did it do them any favours for their latest body of work? Let’s find out as we journey through their ‘Desecrated Mind.’


Taking influence from the likes of Evanescence and Nightwish, opening tracks ‘Delete Me’ and ‘Barely Alive’ display a very poor attempt at these influences; just to be blunt. Do not get me wrong, I love Max Montiel’s chunky guitar riffs and Russell Holy puts on a decent performance behind the kit but sadly the low and muddy mix of the band is just appalling. Then of course you have the biggest downfall of them all and that is the band’s leader Melissa Madnezz’ vocal work which is rather excruciating in most parts, primarily in the higher notes which almost makes my windows shatter. The album’s title track is certainly one of the larger songs off this EP and while it displays a great collection of musical hooks throughout, once again the overall volume mix just makes this song sound so weak; less of Melissa and more of the band.


Ballad ‘The Haunting’ is certainly a very good song, probably the only tolerable song featured, as Melissa’s vocals are just bearable here; but it’s Montiel who shines once again with a face melting clean and distorted guitar solo that features some tasty guitar harmonies. The band take time to revisit their older hard rock style for the catchy ‘On The Radio’ which features a slightly better overall mix, especially where Holy’s drums are considered but sadly, once again, Melissa is a true let down here as she challenges herself with the higher notes in the chorus. This song may be personal for the band due to being trashed in their hometown but sadly this doesn’t save them from the harsh reality that this EP hasn’t been good.


That being said, however, everything bad that I have said turns around for the beautiful ‘White Picket Fence,’ from the airy keyboard and choir effects to Melissa actually sounding fantastic here; makes me wish I could have heard this voice during the entire release. A radio edit of ‘Barely Alive’ draws this EP to a close, cutting about three minutes off the original track, which latest over seven minutes due to a lengthy intro and outro that sounded so much better being cut off.


This is once again one of those records that I really wanted to like – but, sadly, had to follow the message of the introduction and ‘delete’ it off my playlist. I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt, and there was so much potential here especially after their first album, ‘Aggravated’, sounding pretty good. However, as stated, before the overall mix of this record was just abysmal and, while she has put a lot of work into making this band, Melissa 90 per cent of the time does not sound good here. Again, comparing to their previous release, I rather enjoyed that (to an extent) but this just fell completely and desecrated our minds with a horrible record.


‘Desecrated Minds’ is out now.




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