With the recent re-release of of Turbonegro's last two masterpieces "Ass Cobra" and "Apocalypse Dudes" on Epitaph, it seems that 2003 could very well be the year Turbonegro rise from the underground and rocks North America like they deserve. Considering much of their back-story has been mentioned in previous reviews, it makes no sense to speak at length about their long and rocky history, other than it is just that - history. What is important now is where the band is today and what's in store for the future.
I first heard this album in a pre-release listening party I heard from a friend of mine who is part of a loosely defined local chaper of the Turbojugend. Upon hearing the opening instrumental introduction, anticipation started to build much the same way it does when I hear the intro to "The Age of Pamparius" from their last album. The atmospheric and almost spooky sounds of this track (I think its called Blizzard of Flames) sounds nothing like the rest of the album, but somehow fits in perfectly as a preface to the rock n roll that was about to demolish my eardrums.
After about a minute and a half of heavily reverbed drums, keyboards, and a floaty guitar line, the music crecendoes into the true opening track "Wipe it Till it Bleeds". This song hits with a classic lone-guitar riff and breaks into a mid paced rock n roll swagger, vaguely reminscent of something the Stooges might have written a generation ago. I was excited from hearing this song, but had a small feeling that it was lacking something in comparision to their last album. Perhaps its the slight difference in the tone of production. Compared to the slick almost arena-rock sound of "Apocalypse Dudes", "Scandiavian Leather" is much more rough around the edges.
My personal favorite track is the song "Drenched in Blood". Its slightly faster than the majority of the record, which remids me of a perfect mix of "Ass Cobra" and "Apocalypes Dudes". Its distorted bass, double guitar assault, and ridiculously catchy chorus really stuck in my head long after I heard it for the first time. By the end of the tune, I felt an almost old-school Misfits vibe from the "whoas" repeated after the last chorus. Other stand-out songs for me were "Turbonegro Must be Destroyed", "Sell Your Body to the Night", "Fuck the World", and "Ride With Us".
The band experiments a little more with this record by inserting instrumental breaks between some songs and utilizing different instruments like the flute, which is repeated over the main riff at the end of "Ride with Us". Longtime fans of Turbonegro don't worry - their classic glam/punk/rock sound is definately intact, they just show they have a few more aces up their denim sleeves this time around.
It is difficult for me to place a rating on this album because it may change after I have the actual disk in my hands and the ability to play it over and over. From what I think of it now, it is a fucking amazing rock record, but it just didn't pull me in the way "Apocalypse Dudes" did. Using the benchmark of that album as a 10, I would give "Scandinavian Leather" a solid 8.