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THE LEAD- Again ep

It's been an unbelievably long wait for new material from pioneering punk/ hardcore/ crossover thrash band The Lead. The band's last output Burn This Record was way back in 1989, and this project has been in the works for at least 6 years, so the resulting 4 song ep is a bit like eating a filet mignon bit by bit, because you're not sure if you'll get the chance to sample it again. The Lead is Nina Llopis, Julio Rey, and Rob Christie, and though the band's sound changed and evolved with every album, they always sounded very raw, low fi, and at the outskirts (read cutting edge) of the hard music scene. Their music was polarizing- either you didn't get it, or it resonated with you and you loved them for it.

So what does this chameleon we call The Lead sound like after all this time? The band calls its new sound post-hardcore. It sounds less like The Lead's punk years, and more like the latter hardcore and thrash years. The four songs are quite different, but there is a cacophony of hard metal guitar and drum sounds throughout, heavily remixed in industrial metal fashion . The vocals (Nina on "Dressed in a Robe (Rev. 19)" and "Heaven Is Waiting" and Julio on "The World Tomorrow/ Adoration" and "Every Fear Forgiven") are actually sung, not shouted in snotty punk fashion- which is one thing that is clearly different. The other is that the music is essentially worship, albeit crazy way-out-there worship for headbangers, but The Lead was always ahead of the curve, so that doesn't surprise me. See if you can pick up the horns in "The World Tomorrow/ Adoration," the death metal growls in "Every Fear Forgiven," and Steve Rowe (Mortification) supplying the bass line on "Heaven is Waiting." Given The Lead's cool logo and cover art in the past, I found Again's cover art to be pedestrian. If I was thumbing through a pile of discs, it wouldn't jump out and scream "buy me!"- whereas hearing the music would. The other downside is obvious- it's so short. I've got a taste of new The Lead and I gots to have more! Vinyl is in the works. So to summarize, Again= post hardcore + industrial metal+ metal worship. Got it? Good. Get it. (Roxx Records) 4 out of 5 stars

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