IMAGINE ME ALIVE
Sometimes things happen for a reason. Cult favorites Rude Girl were all set to become a dominant force on the metal scene back in the 80s, and that didn't happen for whatever reason. It certainly wasn't because they didn't have the talent. Vocalist Leather Leone was widely regarding as one of the very best heavy metal vocalists of that era - having the rare distinction of being compared favorably to guys like Halford and Dio at the time. Still, it didn't happen for Rude Girl, and following was some solo work, and then a solid and equally brilliant but unappreciated run as the vocalist of the long underground heroes Chastain. For whatever reasons, she just up and disappeared and was never heard from again...until recently.
Moved by the death of her friend Ronnie James Dio, Leather Leone re-emerged, teamed up with her old friend and drummer from Rude Girl Sandy Sledge, recorded a cover of Dio's song "Egypt", and found that they wanted to work together again. Now, after years and years, they are teamed up as Sledge Leather, and have surfaced with a killer collection of songs called IMAGINE ME ALIVE. Without question, Leather Leone has still got it. Her raspy wailing is as strong now as it's ever been, and just as compelling. Songs like "The Guy Upstairs Lied" simply smoke, with Leone driving the song with her almost Overkill-like vocals on the track. The song is equally impressive from Sledge on drums with it's hyperspeed pace and combination drumming that, while subtle, switches between singular tom beat and intricate doubles at the transition points of the song. It's some very, very cool old school metal and as a former drummer, the intricacies of this song are very appealing. That said though, the rest of the disc is equally interesting. The title track, "Imagine Me Alive", is a smoker as well, while they stretch out with the mid-tempo rocker "Her Father's Daughter" which leads into the absolutely haunting piano reprise of the same song. It's cool stuff, from start to finish.
PITRIFF RATING - 86/100 - IMAGINE ME ALIVE is a solid old school record from a new band with a lot of old school history. It's great to see Sandy Sledge and Leather Leone recording together again. Hopefully this will be a much longer term project.