Scandinavian Leather, the denim Norsemen's fifth album, was without a doubt their most eagerly anticipated. Having split up in bizarre fashion not long after the milestone that was Apocalypse Dudes, the band rose victoriously with the 2002 Res-Erection Tour and found that it had gained a substantial, insanely dedicated international fan base -- the Turbojugend. They were now attracting broad attention for the first time in their lengthy career.
Scandinavian Leather continues very much in the same vein as Dudes, albeit with touches of added sophistication. The songs are still delightfully anthemic and the ever-clever lyrics revolve around themes such as copulation, violence, and outsiderness. Although you can hear some fairly camp, '80s metal-esque vocal capers from Hank von Helvete, it's mainly the production, courtesy of guitar god Euroboy, that sets this album apart from its predecessors. The extensive use of multi-layered backing vocals combined with altogether more nuanced arrangements (strings, acoustic guitars etc.) may strip it of some of the immediacy found on Apocalypse Dudes and take Turbonegro in a more commercial direction. On the other hand, though, songs such as "Turbonegro Must Be Destroyed" and "Le Saboteur" rock as ferociously as anything they've ever done.
"Sell Your Body (To the Night)" cleverly lifts its main riff from the Stooges' "Penetration" and marries it with Kiss-like choruses made for filling stadiums. "Locked Down" and "Remain Untamed" are glorious outsider hymns, while first single "F**k the World (F.T.W.)" is a stomping, gigantic beast, growing better and better with each listen. These songs, along with a few more, are bona fide Turbo classics; however, it must be said that Scandinavian Leather lacks some of the consistency and rawness that made Ass Cobra and Apocalypse Dudes instant classics. Still, the thrills and good moments are frequent enough to make this a great, pure rock & roll album.