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Album Review: Hell Patröl – Leather and Chrome

Hell Patröl (I forget the last time I saw the metal umlaut associated with an actual German band) plays straightforward speed metal on their full-length debut Leather and Chrome. Venom and Kill ‘Em All-era Metallica influence shine through the Cronos-style vocal grunts and the numerous songs showcasing tempos at Welcome to Hell speed. However, you won’t find the grime of a band like Midnight on here; melody stays prominent and the instruments stay tight even at their fastest points.

Though with that in mind comes the feeling that the band may not be melodic enough for what they’re going for. That Venom savagery may be prominent, but the twin guitars and more developed vocal lines has more in common with Ample Destruction-era Jag Panzer or early Blind Guardian. It makes one wonder what these songs would sound like with a more talented, commanding lead vocalist at the helm. The guy they’ve got does a decent job, but his gruffness doesn’t quite have the personality of a Kai Hansen or Rolf Kasparek.

But for what it’s worth, there are some solid songs on here. “Still Flyin’” sets the standard well enough though the “Black Metal” vocal aping in the verses and catchy chorus on “Speed Demons Arise” may have made for a better opener. “The Gunslinger” also stands out for its driving drum work and the Slayer emulations on the intro of “Tear Down the Wall” are promising, though both would stand out more with stronger vocals. I’m also contractually obligated to love any song called “Millennial Speed Metal.”

Overall, Leather and Chrome sees Hell Patröl as another face in the modern speed metal crowd, but one that has potential. It’s easy to see how they’d be better with a stronger vocalist and more memorable songs, but the musicianship is tight enough and I’m sure they kick ass live. They remain a niche pick for the time being, but you sure as hell can’t accuse them of false advertising.

Highlights:
“Speed Demons Arise”
“The Gunslinger”
“Millennial Speed Metal”

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