Leader Of A Down begin and end their album with songs that feature Lemmy.
As beginning’s and ends go, its right up there.
The songs rule too. The first one “Paradise Turned To Dust” is particularly impressive. Classic Lemmy, but actually not sounding too much like Motorhead in truth. “This world has turned to shit,” he offers as he spits the vocals in the way that only he could. “Seems to me, it’s time to quit…”
Poignant, in the light of what happened since, clearly, but then this whole record is in its way.
Cards on the table, until I saw LoD support Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons I wasn’t aware of them or their story, but after their impressive showing I checked out the record and it turned out that Leader Of Down were the last band of Wurzel – who formed the group with Tim Atkinson, the bassist, in 2008.
As well as the songs with Lemmy, there is also the last track that Wurzel worked on too. “The Killing Rain” – and actually it is that one that is more representative of their work. A very British sounding hard rock, metal tinged hybrid, it is somewhere between Blaze Bayley – singer Matt Baker, who was once on The Voice, has a similar sound – and UFO. It is not what you’d maybe expect.
Given the tribulations of the band over the decade, it is a miracle that a) “Cascade Into Chaos” emerged at all and b) that it sounds so damn fresh.
The title track kicks viciously – drummer Steve Clarke is in immense form throughout – and Alex Ward on guitar fills some mighty shoes here too. “People Say I’m Crazy” is a turbo-charged boogie that actually could have been on one of the Maiden albums in the D’ianno era, and heads are gonna bang wherever it is played.
After Wurzel died a load of special guests were recruited to finish the thing off. Bruce Foxton turns up on “Serial Killjoy” and you can pay it no higher compliment than to say it lives up to its title. “Children Of Disease” sees Whitfield Crane add his inimitable vocals and Phil Campbell rip a guitar solo out of nowhere, while the Motorhead connections are nowhere near done.
Y’see Wurzel roped Fast Eddie Clarke in to help too, and he does. On a couple he steals the show in fact. “Snakebite” (and those distinctive licks make this the most Motorhead, as it were) has some immense guitar from Clarke, coupled with some double kick drumming to dream of. He’s back too, on the incredible closing thing, “Laugh At The Devil” wherein he’s reunited with Lemmy one last time. You’d say there isn’t a dry eye in the house, but c’mon, can you imagine Lemmy wanting anyone to be morbid.
“Punch And Geordie” has a touch of Nazareth about it, “Feelgood” sees Cliff Evans of Tank turn up to casually knock out a hard rock belter, one that has a chorus that is simplistic as you like, but try and get it out of your head. I dare you.
Leader Of Down take their name from Wurzel mishearing the lyrics to “Down Down” and there is something of Quo about this in spirit at least, as British as you like and totally disinterested in trends. “Cascade Into Chaos” is a gem not because of the guests, but because of the songs.
Now they have a solid line up and an album out, it might be time to really follow the Leader.