LEATHERWOLF – New World Asylum

LEATHERWOLF - New World Asylum
  • 8/10
    LEATHERWOLF - New World Asylum - 8/10


NIL8 Records
Release date: April 20, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

What is this you may ask, Leatherwolf’s World Asylum reviewed some two year’s after its initial release? Well, not quite, but almost! Look closer at the picture on the left, and you’ll see it says NEW World Asylum (the colour scheme has been changed too). See, this isn’t the exact World Asylum Leatherwolf released in 2006. Rather, it’s that same album with the main difference being original vocalist Michael Olivieri handling the vocals, whereas Wade Black (Crimson Glory, ex-Seven Witches) sang on the original. The main reason for this, according to the band themselves, is not a disliking of Black’s performance on their part, but rather Olivieri liking the album so much, that he wanted to set his own take on it once rejoining the band. They are right too; Black’s vocals were great on World Asylum, so much so it’s arguably his best recorded performance yet while being quite an album, indeed. It was Leatherwolf’s return to the scene as far as their studio works were concerned, since 1989’s Street Ready, and showcased a musically very updated band, rivaling their self titled 1987 release as the group’s finest ever effort in the process. The Leatherwolf of today is a decidedly heavier band and, whilst still showcases American Heavy Power Metal, it does so with a most modern sound scape; “King of the Ward” is a good example of this successful blend at hand.

Olivieri at times does as good as Black, other times… okay, but still not as good; his vocal delivery isn’t as powerful on “Behind the Gun” as that of his predecessor (and successor… confusing, isn’t it?), which is disappointing since it was arguably the best track the original had to offer, in part due to Black’s wailing. At the other end of the spectrum, the aggressive attack of “I Am The Law” and the moody “Never Again” still sounds as splendid. Emphasis has been laid more on the spooky voice effect towards the tail end of “Dr Wicked” which makes the song’s meaning and title work even better, and the pairing of this song that leads to the insane cries from the inner rooms of the asylum that is “Institutions” still marks as a highpoint.

Whilst World Asylum was released on Massacre, the reworked version is released via the band’s own NI8 label. An appealing thing that’s striking is Olivieri at large actually sounds surprisingly similar to Black in places, here and for the most part there, while there hasn’t been much of a change made to the vocal melodies as such. This makes the new version from hardly being disappointing to connoisseurs, but at the same time the whole idea of reworking an already great and still fairly recent album seems kind of pointless because of it. Obviously, only hardcore fans would be interested to invest in both versions.

So while the need for a release of this nature may be questionable, however, a great album it was, still is and remains one of the better nuggets of modern day American Power Metal released in recent years. Does it better the original? Well, no, but if the original is hard to come by for some reason, this one is well worth the purchase. If you already own the original World Asylum, you know what a great album it is. It set great anticipations on it’s proper follow-up to live up to, and, since the original was never reviewed on MER anyway, an 8 it is.


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