"Burning Leather"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Talk to any grizzled greybeard from the early 80's metal scene and they will tell you that OZ should have made it big. Not only did they have one of the greatest cover images of all time on "Fire In The Brain", but the album stood head and shoulders with the latest from Accept, Saxon and even Priest and Maiden from those hallowed days. It beats me why they never got their break...maybe it had something to do with their overtly Satanic "Turn The Cross Upside Down" song...but here they are again in 2012...almost 30 years on...and they show they can still blow the proverbial roof off.

"Burning Leather" is a mix of re-recorded old classics and new OZ songs and it kicks ass from beginning to end. These guys sound fired up and ready to take care of business! The music is a mixture of Accept-ish pre-speed metal like "Search Lights" and "Third Warning" with a kind of catchy boogie metal reminiscent of AC/DC and Saxon. The aura of old European bands such as Acid, Killer and Speedway hangs heavy over "Burning Leather", but the production is more modern and polished...but not TOO polished! It blows my mind how great singer Ape DeMartini sounds here...he's got a great ballsy metal voice! The tunes are as heavy as fuck, but still catchy and even commercial...the chorus to "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" is absolutely irresistable and "Enter Stadium" is a chest-beating mid-tempo anthem for sure. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay is that newer songs like "Dominator" and "Total Metal" equal 80's classics like "Fire In The Brain" (boogie metal supreme!) and the still ominous "Turn The Cross Upside Down". New guitarists Michel Santunione and John Berg fit in perfectly with oldtimers Ape, Jay C. Blade and Mark Ruffneck.

Newcomers to OZ who want to find out what really made these guys legends are highly encouraged to pick up "Burning Leather" and I really hope we get more all-new material from them soon! Follow the Burning Leather Brick Road...