Let's get this out of the way early: yes, LeATHERMOUTH is the side project of My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero. Unfortunately for the 15-year-old girls who will probably purchase this album based on name recognition alone, X0 sounds a lot more like a Refused album than anything MCR might put out. In fact, the album is completely devoid of anything resembling "emo-pop," instead featuring 10 sub-three minute bursts of pure aggression.
The band borrows heavily from Refused-- especially when it comes to the vocals-- as well as '80s stalwarts Black Flag and, unfortunately, don't really deviate from this formula. The album's lack of variability is probably its biggest weakness as the tracks all tended to blur into one another on multiple listens. There are some pretty good riffs, like the intro for "Murder Was The Case That They Gave Me," and some good breakdowns. Still, the album as a whole is not captivating enough to be truly good.
X0 sounds a lot like it's the release of all the pent-up anger and frustration Mr. Iero built up over his time with MCR. Unfortunately, it's unfocused and the songs suffer as a result. There is definite potential here, but the pieces didn't come together like they might have. At least it's not another My Chemical Romance album.