Leverage
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"Leverage: Blind Fire album"

Finland's Leverage burst onto the world stage in 2006 with one of the best melodic metal album's of the year. Hell of way to make an entrance with what I still rate as one of the best debut albums seen within the genre. So expectations are extremely high for Blind Fire, the band's sophomore release.
I think fans will be very happy with the efforts of the band second time around. There are a couple of points I will make, but to cut to the chase, the band has taken the blueprint of the debut and reproduced it again here.
There are no dramatic changes to style or direction or tempo even, so those impressed by the debut will find plenty more to appreciate here.
Vocalist Pekka Heino made an instant mark and is back in full force again here, with his melodic prowess matched by his sheer breathtaking power – right now in my mind, second only to Jorn Lande in this genre.
The barnstorming double-kickdrum fired Shadow Of The Night opens the album with a rush, but it is King Of The Night that features the better hook and some tasty guitar soloing.
The free flowing Stormchild and the slower but more brazen Sentenced continue the power onslaught of the first twenty minutes of this album. There's barely the chance to take a breath.
Hellborn sounds brutal, but it is a little more melodic and has an anthemic quality to it, with Pekka's vocals designed for a stadium feel.
Mister Universe has a similar feel before the band eases up for their first ballad – Don't Touch The Sun. Of course, this is not your average ballad, but rather a slower intense, emotional track that builds throughout, to a suitably powerful conclusion.
Run Down The Hill takes us back to the opening moments of the album and a flurry of double-kickdrums and powerful hooks.
Heart Of Darkness has some fabulous guitar soloing within and a good chorus hook, but I think the track still had some potential to be bigger and better.
Learn To Live on the other hand fulfills all potential and delivers all, in being a super powerful and passionate metal ballad complete with soaring vocals and guitars.
I recall an old statement about the challenges of following up a monster debut. The author eludes me at this time, but the comment went something like "a band has a lifetime to write and record their first album, but then must repeat that entire process in less than a year in order to deliver an equally good follow-up."
I'm referencing that now as I feel that is somewhat the case here. I think the debut is probably the better album, but only by a narrow margin, and because it sounded fresher, due to the band having the advantage of being unknown and being able to surprise their audience.
The production quality is almost as good as the sonically bombastic debut. Certainly the same approach has been taken, but the debut had a slightly crisper top end sound.
Oh, and minor point to some perhaps, but the cover art is simply not good enough for a band of this stature. The debut had a simple, but really classy feel to it. This cover has little appeal aside from the band's logo.

The Bottom Line
At the end of the day – this is another great album for the band and for this genre of music. An extremely good release and an absolute must have for all fans of the debut.
Incidentally – that classic debut album Tides has now been re-issued by Frontiers in conjunction with this release (complete with the 2 original Japanese bonus tracks), so if you are new to this band, so not hesitate to pick up both albums at once and be prepared to be blown away. - www.melodicrock.com


Discography

Tides 2006
Follow Down that River MCD 2007
Blind Fire 2008
Circus Colossus 2009

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Bio

Having started like so many of their contemporaries, Finland's Leverage is the lifelong dream of two childhood friends, guitarist Tuomas Heikkinen and bass player Pekka Lampinen. Having begun as a covers-only group and after enrolling the fretwork wizardry of melodic mastermind Torsti Spoof and the singing superstar Pekka Heino, Leverage has to date completed two extremely well-received albums; their groundbreaking bedut “Tides” in 2006 and 2008’s “Blind Fire”, which was chosen second best album in the category of “Best Metal album” of the year at MelodicRock.com. Now they’re laying down the bricks for another modern classic with "Circus Colossus"!
Head and shoulders above the competition, Leverage is darker and more progressive than your average melodic metal group and their supreme tour de force “Circus Colossus” will amaze you all the way - right from the impressive streetlight symphony of “Wolf and the Moon" to the direct point-blank hits "Legions Of Invisible" & “Prisoners” and the languor of the ballad "Don't Keep Me Waiting". Closing with rousing "Broken Wings" the album leaves the listeners' ears ringing and index fingers reaching for a rapid replay.
"Circus Colossus" is the address where all the good stuff resides; a gigantic stadium, the one venue where timeless melodies meet an unique, modern take on honest-to-God heavy rock and superior musicianship. "Circus Colossus" is a moody and melodic metal marvel, a raging slab full of catchy grooves and dense riffage. It can’t be said any more clearly - “Circus Colossus” is an audio addiction, to which you will rejoicingly succumb.
2009 will see an Earth-shattering late fall for the purveyors of melodic metal. Having come basically out of nowhere in 2006, in just a couple of short years Leverage are going places... See you 4th of November at “Circus Colossus”!

www.myspace.com/leverageband

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