Leather Duchess: ‘Fatal Moon’

Released on November 21, 2022 (Revolt Records)

If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought upon hearing the opening track “No Asylum” and the title track off Leather Duchess‘ sophomore album Fatal Moon that the band actually employs three different lead vocalists. You can hear the near perfect and mirror like raspy voice of Dangerous Toys frontman Jason McMaster, the clear singing of another singer and the falsetto like voice of yet another lead vocalist during the title track. Funny enough, despite the very different singing voices on the album, they all belong to Leather Duchess frontman Tyler Heath. If you want to visually see him seemingly easily switch from one vocal style to another, check out the band’s video for its lead single “White Leather.”

At first when I was listening to the opening track “No Asylum”, I thought that there were just too many different twists and turns in the song to the point that it felt that the band members took a couple of different song ideas together and forced them into one track. However, upon listening to the album a few more times — ok, probably a good 25 more times because it’s that good! — I have grown to love all the variations during the song from Heath‘s constantly switching vocal styles, to the slower parts that grind the song to a halt, to the really cool and frantic guitar riff towards the end. Because of Heath‘s constant differing singing styles during most tracks including “Snakebite” and the opening single “White Leather”, the songs feel like they take you on a (welcome) roller coaster ride. The reality is that the band members’ musicianship is second to none. I love guitarist Marc Edgar‘s guitar tone, and his solos are memorable and air guitar worthy. The rhythm section of drummer Jake Wolf and bassist Colton Weaver is really tight and seemingly able to adapt to all the twists and turns on most of the songs. Wolf gets extra props for a very solid job producing, mixing and mastering the record.

Similar to on their killer debut album Gunslinger, Leather Duchess excel on the medium to faster tracks. Songs like “Fortune Favors The Bold”, “Flying Too Close (To The Sun”), “White Leather”, “Rock and Roll Rodeo Clown” and the very Dangerous Toys sounding “Road Tail” all sound simply amazing. You’ll notice that I just mentioned five of the nine tracks on Fatal Moon. Unfortunately, where the band falters a little bit is on the slower tracks. When I first saw the track listing for Fatal Moon, I noticed that one song was titled “Sleeping In The Fire” and I immediately wondered whether Leather Duchess had tackled W.A.S.P.‘s classic ballad. As it turns out, Leather Duchess did take it on but with Heath using his “clear” voice which unfortunately gives the song a blander feel to it. There is no question in my mind after hearing Leather Duchess‘ version of the song that the raspiness of Blackie Lawless‘ voice really took the W.A.S.P. version to that next level. At the end of the day, a great song is a great song and it’s hard to fuck that up but I do prefer the W.A.S.P. original to Leather Duchess‘ cover. Where Leather Duchess do lose me each time is during the slower title track “Fatal Moon.” I can’t stand the slower falsetto parts sung by Heath. Enough said. It’s a “skipper” (song that I will skip over each time).

Leather Duchess have some cool unexpected guests on their album consisting of Steel Panther drummer Stix Zadinia (i.e., Darren Leader) who handles the drumming on “Snakebite”, Dangerous Toys frontman (and fellow Texan) Jason McMaster who handles one verse on “Road Tail” and Alice Cooper guitarist Ryan Roxie who handles the outro guitar solo on “Flying Too Close (To The Sun).” Sometimes having guest musicians on an album can make a big difference but I find that none of the guest contributions on Fatal Moon really add anything to the songs. In any case, it must have been fun for the Leather Duchess band members to have their guest musicians provide their contributions on the album.

Unfortunately, just like with their debut album Gunslinger, I only became aware of Fatal Moon during the year after it was released. I don’t know why Leather Duchess‘ frontman Tyler Heath always contacts me so late about his band’s latest album because for both Gunslinger and Fatal Moon, I am kicking myself when listening to each album thinking that each had a shot at making the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of the Year. In any case, even though Fatal Moon came out in 2022 and was not considered for that year end’s best albums, it should be a record that is in any Sleaze Roxx readers’ record collection. As an added bonus, the Leather Duchess band members always seem to take great care in their album presentation and Fatal Moon is no exception with a really cool cover (looks especially great on vinyl) and a really nice CD booklet / some really vinyl inserts. So the bottom line is that you should really get a copy of Fatal Moon. Trust me and you’ll thank me later.

Track List:
01. No Asylum
02. Snakebite
03. Fortune Favors The Bold
04. Sleeping In The Fire
05. White Leather
06. Flying Too Close (To the Sun)
07. Rock and Roll Rodeo Clown
08. Fatal Moon
09. Road Tail

Band Members:
Tyler Heath – lead vocals, acoustic guitar (4)
Marc Edgar – lead guitars, rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Colton Seaver – bass, backing vocals
Jake Wolf – drums, backing vocals, keys

Additional Musicians:
Jason McMaster – lead vocals (third verse of 7th track)
Ryan Roxie – outro guitar solo (6)
Darren Leader – drums (2)

Produced, mixed and mastered by Jake Wolf
Tracking engineers: Bruce Witkin, Jake Wolf, Phil Rohr and Carlos Orellana

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, April 2023

Leather Duchess‘ “White Leather” video:

Leather DuchessFatal Moon album: