HELL BENT FOR LEATHER TERROR.
If there was ever a time when synthwave music needed a good ol’ fashioned beatdown, it’s right now. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish the dreamy/psyche/neon-swirling sounds that so many have mastered to perfection these days, but sometimes we need a dip in the darkness. It’s a refreshing feeling to wander down the seedy back alleys and find the gritty stuff like Carpenter Brut’s new album ‘LEATHER TERROR’. These twelve tracks are a nuclear reminder that synth music can be heavy, violent, uplifting and danceable all at once.
From the rebirth of this genre some years ago, the projects that really stick out are the ones that take you someplace else. Exotic locations. Forbidden lands. It’s very visual music. You’re lured into a new world and distracted from the bombardment of content, screens and nonsense around you. It demands your attention and keeps you thirsty for more.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what Carpenter Brut has done over the years in terms of creating a series of absolutely killer songs and concept albums that exist in a world of Italian horror, post-apocalyptic landscapes and heavy metal high school attitude. I’m thrilled to report that I’ve heard the new album, LEATHER TERROR and they’ve taken us on another nasty 3am car ride with Bret Halford at the wheel.
Yes, LEATHER TERROR is a continuation of the story of that dastardly dude Bret Halford who we were introduced to on 2018’s ‘Leather Teeth’ album. While that record was more glam rock in spirit and cleaner sounding at certain points in the tracklisting, now the tables have turned and Bret is out for blood. Literally. These twelve tracks tell the story of a serial killer on the rise who wants to take revenge on all those who mistreated him when he was younger. Back with a vengeance!
From the opening Robocop stomp of “Opening Title” into the Giorgio Moroder-joins-Megadeth number “Straight Outta Hell”, we’ve already ventured into new, deadlier-than-ever territory. CB have always flirted with heavier sounds and atmospheres, but this is opening up a new portal and beefing up the synths to rival the gnarlyness of most twin guitar attacks (without the use of actual guitars). This level of massive synth distortion took me off guard for a moment, but then I realized it’s because I haven’t heard this be done before. Major props to them for breaking new ground in the genre and perhaps even heavy metal itself.
A number of guest vocalists collaborate on the next few tracks, which take CB’s sound in a new direction while sounding more massive than ever. Ex-Dillinger Escape Plan singer Greg Puciato brings a new dimension on “Imaginary Fire” which feels like something plucked from the New Romantic-era but bathed in blood.
Other highlights from the album include the tracks “Day Stalker” into “Night Stalker” which will make fans of the previous albums very happy. “Paradisi Gloria” is maybe the most cinematic feast he’s made since the first EP. It will bring you back to black-gloved killers creeping around aerobic studios under Dario Argento lighting. This is Carpenter Brut firing on all cylinders and doing what they do best. I can’t help but visualize what the live shows will be like.
Speaking of live shows, the band will be hitting the road soon for a big US & European tour. For an Uncle like me who likes to float between rock shows and disco nights, the seamless blend of both of those genres in a live setting was a serious experience. People dancing. People headbanging. On paper it doesn’t make sense but go experience yourself and you’ll see.