Leather Nun America – Kult Occult

When I first saw the band name and album cover I figured Leather Nun America was going to be some lo-fi death grind band that wouldn’t interest me much. Well I’m glad I took the plunge and hit the play button because it turned out to be some nice crunchy stoner/doom metal instead. What a great way to end the week.

Leather Nun America (not to be confused with the Swedish 70s rock group Leather Nun) are a California stoner/doom metal band who formed back in 2003 and “Kult Occult” is their fourth album to date. Looks like I’m going to have to do some back-catalog shopping on these guys.

I’m still getting over the perception shift from what I was expecting and what I’m hearing. I’d glanced at some highly rated reviews for this album in some of the metal magazines, but a lot of what they rate highly I end up hating (that’s just personal taste mind you, not a judgment of the magazines or their reviewers) so I didn’t pay it much mind. Silly me.

Leather Nun America is less doom in the Candlemass sense and more in the Grand Magus with maybe a hint of Acid Bath vein. The songs are more mid-tempo than slow but the riffs are low, heavy, fuzzed out and plentiful. And unlike many doom records where nine songs would clock in at well over an hour, “Kult Occult” is a meager 37 minutes. No long drawn out songs on this album. I suppose you would call this more stoner than doom, but whatever.

Given how fuzzy the guitars are I’m surprised how good the production is on this album. They are fuzzy but don’t lose cohesion, so the mix is actually pretty tight. The drums could use a little love in the mix, they aren’t very punchy, but the stringed instruments compensate with a lot of punch of their own. The vocals are clean and melodic (in a stoner metal slightly bluesy sense).

The second to last track on the album, “Damiana” switches gear and goes acoustic. Then, after another audio clip from “Easy Rider” (the first precedes the opening track) the final song “Leadcatcher” returns to the heavier rifftastic frenzy of the rest of the album.

There’s a lot of so-so and passable stoner/doom metal out there but I think this one is better than most. Definitely worth checking this album out, and I’ll be looking into the earlier albums myself.