Leash Law

Dogface

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    5
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Individually, the five men behind heavy metal band Leash Law possess as enviable a collection of career resumés (including past affiliations with the likes of Crimson Glory, Rob Rock, Death, Iced Earth, and many more) as one could dream of finding under one "roof" (instantly qualifying them for semi-supergroup status). But collectively, it's sadly another story, as their vast musical pedigree consistently fails to deliver the songwriting goods throughout the band's 2004 debut Dogface. Borrowing from both traditional American metal and, to a lesser degree, Germanic power metal, Leash Law packs a variety of moods, tempos, and riffing styles into songs like "Fight," "Hail to Blood," and "Hellhole" (not a Spinal Tap cover, by the way) -- all of which feature sterling musicianship and ear-shattering vocals, and obviously try real hard to sound original and different. But the band's efforts can't overcome a general dearth of distinctive hooks, leaving these and additional offerings like the title track "Paving the Way" and the semi-power ballad "Banion" (singer Wade Black's heartfelt tribute to his deceased mother) sounding like rather tuneless outtakes from Jugulator-era Judas Priest. To Leash Law's credit, many of their lyrics (see "Stealing Grace," "Martial Law," etc.) focus on real-life concerns -- particularly politics -- as opposed to typical power metal fantasy fare or, worse yet, all that "let's all bang our heads together for the glory of metal" mucky-muck. Yet sadly, this unique approach can only do so much in the face of the album's other flaws, leaving one hoping Leash Law can do better next time.

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