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A larger concoction that isn't diluted much - 88%

Gutterscream, March 21st, 2015
Written based on this version: 1984, 12" vinyl, Tropical Records

“…there was nothing left, not a single chance, no…”

Probably the second worst case I’ve come across of a record's title running amok in a discography is reflected in every self-titled effort by CA’s cool Leatherwolf. Two full-lengthers and one ep from ’84-’87 stand almost as confused as we, this enigma apparently the work of various record companies on both sides of the ocean while Steamhammer Records of Germany renames their own domestic pressing after the song “Endangered Species”. Making matters even less logical are the ’84 lp and ep sharing the same sleeve. Jeez.

Also floating around heavily was a stylistic identity crisis that originated not with the band, but with many would-be consumers who assumed a moniker like Leatherwolf could only offer lipstick blotting tips and Aqua Net ingredients as lyrics. Well Dave, is that really so hard to believe? Sigh…I guess not, but all that was needed were mere glancing blows from “Season of the Witch” (not a Donovan cover), “Endangered Species” and "Leatherwolf” to put the ultimate kibosh on that theory. But ya know what? People can be stubborn and stupid, usually just as stupid as the excuses why they wouldn’t give these guys a more well-deserved chance despite the evidence staring them in the ears. I hang my head.

Alas, a bunch of us willing to go the extra half a block (really, all it took was a radio-played song’s worth of awareness to get my adolescent ass on board) ended up much better for the effort and got struck silly by either the ep or lp as it skidded across an eclectic groundwork of superbly-executed traditional, power, speed, and progressive metal and into our grubby ‘lil mitts. The ep found me first, however it didn’t take much arm-twisting for me to buy the lp and its four additional semi-precious stones when the chance popped up.

It’s my belief that you’re getting the best five songs – “Spiter”, “Endangered Species”, “Kill and Kill Again”, “Leatherwolf” and “Season of the Witch” - with the ep. It’s a powerful 21+ minutes with only ’83 demo holdover “Spiter” seemingly seeking any radio-friendliness, meanwhile “Season of the Witch” and the title cut are just as heavy, yet considerably more intricate than anything Overkill and Savatage were doing at the time. It’s all this quintet should’ve needed to find early metal supra-acceptance, and don’t even think the lp’s four ‘bonus’ tracks, even while sitting with an inch more ass cheek on mainstream’s side of the fence, screwed this up, so while we chalk Leatherwolf’s absenteeism up to basic unfairness of life, a misconception may need to be dispelled.

“Tonight’s the Night”, “Off the Track”, “Vagrant”, and b-side ’83 demo track, “The Hook”, are only slightly less gifted players in songwriting appeal and catchiness than those in the main positions, and when I say ‘an inch of ass cheek’ more mainstream, I mean the same corresponding centimeters the rest of the world think of, however if these four tracks plus “Spiter” filled the grooves of the ep, I wouldn’t have been so easily compelled to give the full-lengther an immediate home. But that’s not saying it never woulda happened.

So by all means ignore the ep for the lp, but if you’re gonna pay per song, pay slightly less for the lp’s additional armament if you can.

“…won’t find me in a high class charity ball, I like to lay around and just do nothing at all…”