|Review: Leverage - Blind Fire|
Label: Frontiers Records
Year released: 2008
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 15, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (16 Votes)
I'm really proud of Leverage. The debut, "Tides", wasn't anything fantastic, but it was fun and pretty catchy, with a few really stellar songs that kept me interested. I had hopes for this one, the follow up, and luckily, they were exceeded, as "Blind Fire" just fucking smokes all the way through. Leverage have exceeded their potential on the debut here, completely blowing that album out of the water with class and style to boot. Listening to both of them back to back really underlines the jump in quality, as even though the style of music played on both albums isn't much different, the debut is made almost unlistenable by this new one.
One thing you'll notice is that Leverage are no longer straddling the line between Heavy and Power Metal. No, here on "Blind Fire", they have embraced a sleeker, more streamlined melodic Power Metal sort of sound and also cleaned up their production to a more polished sheen, while still keeping all of the elements from the debut - Pekka Heino's calm, powerful vocals (one of the band's strongest assets, honestly - they wouldn't be the same without him), the infectious keyboard melodies, soaring solos, all of it - that made that album good. You'll hear definite shades of Edguy, Helloween, mid-period Nocturnal Rites and Sonata Arctica on various songs here, yet Leverage incorporate these elements into their now signature sound, raising it to new heights that honestly surprised me, as I did not expect a second tier band like this one to ever put out anything this tight, memorable, and just overall kick-ass!
Indeed, what I never expected from Leverage were smashing, powerful compositions like the fantastic, Kamelot-esque "Shadow in the Rain," with its harmonized chorus and soaring melodies, or the radio friendly, yet absolutely stellar, "Sentenced," or the menacing "Heart of Darkness," with its huge, window shattering hymn-wide choirs, or especially not the awesome, epic stomp of the monstrous "Hellhorn," which is the best song they've ever written, or the shimmering glory of any number of Power Metal firebombs just waiting to hit you in the face around every corner here. They even have a ballad in "Learn to Live" that never gets cheesy or boring at all, remaining poignant and sorrowful throughout its duration. Fantastic song. Rest assured, every song here is memorable after just one listen, and none of them are weak or lacking at all.
On the debut, Leverage had all the pieces of what could be a good sound, but on "Blind Fire", they've really come into their own, and created a solid album of killer melodies and all-around enjoyable songs that will satisfy anyone with even so much as a passing interest in Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. The choruses are bigger and better, the riffs are punchier, the melodies are sharper, the production is polished up, and the vocals are clearer and even better than before. This is accessible, yes, but that just means that you'll like it from first listen and also that it will not grow stale after fifteen listens. While Leverage might never be a world class band, this is a damn fine album, and if they continue to put out material like this, I'll keep supporting them. Recommended.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: Circus Colossus (reviewed by Larry Griffin)|
Review: Tides (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
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