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One of many promising metal bands to emerge out of the greater Los Angeles area during the early 1980s, Orange County's Leatherwolf would be frequently singled out for their unique, "triple axe attack," featuring Mike Olivieri (who also sang for the band), Geoff Gayer, and Carey Howe. But even though conventional wisdom suggests one can never have too much guitar where heavy metal is concerned, this differential alone wasn't enough to break the band beyond the heavy metal underground. Leatherwolf's career began in earnest around 1982, and after demoing some material and paying the local clubs, the above mentioned trio, plus bassist Matt Hurich and drummer Dean Roberts, recorded an eponymous EP for release through independent Tropical Records, in 1984. Later expanded to a full LP with an additional five songs (sometimes referred to as Endangered Species), the recordings were licensed for European release via Grand Slamm Records, since Leatherwolf's style was greatly inspired by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Unfortunately, those influences were nowhere near as popular in the U.S., where more accessible glam metal was grabbing all the headlines, so Leatherwolf had to bide their time and tone down their sound somewhat before finally landing a major record deal with Island, a few years later. This yielded an eponymous sophomore album in 1987 that found the band operating in commercial trad-metal mode, along the lines of Fifth Angel, Armored Saint, or Queensryche, but hardly even showcasing their former signature triple guitar threat. Clearly, the band was trying to compromise with their record company's demands, because ‘89's Street Legal (featuring new bass player Paul Carman) found Leatherwolf watering themselves down even futher with a batch of glam rock non-starters. Within a few more years the band was no more, and even though a live album entitled Wide Open was released in 1999, Leatherwolf wouldn't see a studio again until 2006, at which time they cobbled together their fourth album, World Asylum, featuring Crimson Glory and Leash Law vocalist Wade Black.
© Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo


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