Leathermouth - XØ (Cover Artwork)


XØ (2009)


If someone had played me XØ and told me it was fronted by a member of My Chemical Romance, I would say they were full of shit had I not already known. The fact of the matter is, Leathermouth is absolutely nothing like MCR in any way. What Frank Iero and company's new band is, more than anything, is pissed off. As far as sound goes, the dirty guitar tones, boxy drums and horrifying shriek pouring out of Iero's throat give the album a really gritty, dissonant feel. This is in every sense of the word a hardcore record. Hardcore being fast, stripped down, pissed off punk rock -- not the meathead chug-junky garbage that's somehow managed to pass itself off as hardcore as of late.

Songs are kept short and simple; the longest of the ten on the album is just under three minutes long. Guitar work is very straightforward with very little melody to speak of. The chordal nature of the songs helps the band achieve a thick, raw sound that make for great groove parts on the rare occasions where the album takes a breath and slows down a bit.

In terms of subject matter, XØ is very pessimistic and very violent. According to the band's website, "Catch Me If You Can" features borrowed elements from letters written by Jack the Ripper. Song titles that threaten to kill presidents and reference school shootings should provided a good idea of what's in store for the listener lyrically.

Leathermouth's XØ is a solid hardcore record and a nice change from what Epitaph has been putting out lately. While bands like Cursed, among others, have been doing an arguably better job of essentially the same thing for a while now, XØ is definitely worth the time of anyone who's into horror movies and gnarly punk rock.