Hardcore act LeATHERMOUTH, a side project including My Chemical Romance’s Frank Iero, released XO recently on Epitaph Records. Before you even start thinking bad things let me say that LeATHERMOUTH is not My Chemical Romance nor is their sound remotely close. Don’t judge this band until you pop the CD in and hear it for yourself as it has nothing to do with happy times or even emo pop punk. XO is brutal and has the anger of Gallows combined with the outspoken reflection on the world like the Dead Kennedys, a nice combination I might add. Add some fuming hate that has been building up for years and you have yourself one pissed off release.
Having not researched the band prior to my first listen, the only thing I knew about LeATHERMOUTH was that they, according to the CD booklet, were “bass, drums, two electric guitars, and vocals.” After some research I learned that they are a hardcore band formed almost out of pure bottled up anger by the guitarist of the chart topping wonders My Chemical Romance.
The band was actually formed by friends of Frank Iero who finally joined them after the band stated that their initial lead singer failed to write lyrics for the songs they created. Hearing this disappointing news, Frank Iero took the reigns as the lead singer of the band and wrote all the lyrics for the songs.
I still was not convinced of the idea of an almost pop punk band member being in a hardcore side project and almost passed on listening to the CD until I read what Frank Iero told Epitiaph.com:
"There's too much bad hair and white belts. Sometimes it nice to turn your brain off and just listen to someone sing about girls. I'm not knocking it. I do think there is a time and a place. But LeATHERMOUTH isn't like that… it's about hate. Hate that boils up inside and eats away at you, if you don't vomit it up you know it will eventually destroy you."
After reading that I quickly grabbed my copy of XO and threw it in my CD player and the result was enough anger to make any smiling face turn to a stern frown. Fans of My Chemical Romance, you should stop reading now; LeATHERMOUTH has nothing to do with that happy high school punk rock music you cherish.
The opening song “5th Period Massacre” set the mood by talking about the overflowing sad amounts of suppressed anger from bullied youth only to explode into a shooting at an education institution. The music was heavy, the lyrics were graphic, and the anger was all so tempting.
Following the impressive opening track was “Catch Me If You Can” a hardcore melee full of breaking the law and causing chaos and rebellion was actually created from letters written by Jack The Ripper.
The mortal “Murder Was The Case That They Gave Me” was far from Snoop Dogg and more so The Bronx with pure hate energy throughout. “Sunsets Are For Muggings” not only humored me by the title but seemed to reach back to the 80s hardcore punk rock. “My Love Note Has Gone Flat” seemed to just strangle any decent thought in my head.
For Frank Iero’s first attempt at being a lyricist and lead singer I think he nailed it. His raspy scratchy voice lies perfect with the hardcore feel the rest of the band provided. Their music will make you angry and that seems to be LeATHERMOUTH’s soul intention and with that, they have provided a serious impression on me with XO.
Angry, loud, and hardcore is all you need to know about this CD. If you like horror movies, being angry at the world, and fast furious hardcore music with exceptional force this CD is for you. If you like songs about girls in high school and mild mischief don’t even bother.