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Leverage Blind Fire Frontiers Records
FRCD359
· Produced By: Torsti Spoof, Tuomas Heikkinen & Jari Mikkola

· Running Time:

· Release Date: January 25

· Released:

· Musical Style: Melodic Metal

· Links: Frontiers
93%
Songs: 93%
Sound: 92%
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.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Tides
· Blind Fire

Line Up:
· Pekka Heino: Vocals
· Tuomas Heikkinen, Torsti Spoof: Guitars
· Valtteri Revonkorpi: Drums
· Pekka Lampinen: Bass
· Marko Niskala: Keyboards

Essential For Fans Of:
· Leverage - Tides
· Masterplan
· Brother Firetribe
Track Listing
· Shadow In The Rain *
· King Of The Night *
· Stormchild *
· Sentenced *
· Hellhorn
· Mr. Universe
· Don't Touch The Sun *
· Run Down
· Heart Of Darkness
· Learn To Live *

--*Best Tracks


20/02/10: Pete - sachmo123@hotmail.com
Rating: 93
A different perspective now that I've been listening to Circus Colossus for a few weeks now (where's that review, Andrew!?). When you listen to Tides, Blind Fire, and CC back to back, it really puts this Cd in perspective. It is a perfect bridge between the more straight-forward rock approach to Tides and the rather symphonic, progressive sound of Colossus. Yes it has some 'easy to like after first listen' songs such as the awesome Sentenced and King of the Night, but you can tell they were successfully expanding their approach to song writing. It is a perfect omen to Colossus, which is outstanding! Even Mister Universe - which may sound like a made-for-radio tune - has awesome guitar riffs and base line pounding away in the backround. Listen to that song again, but focus on the instrumentation. Definitely a 'Must Buy' rating.

23/06/08: Steve - boc2msg@yahoo.com
Rating: 95
Are you people bonkers? This stuff is great! I think Pekka actually sounds better on this album. But I am not as big a fan of Jorn as some of you, either. "Sentenced" is amazing, perhaps as perfect a song as they will ever have, but the whole album is great. For me, they create a terrific combination of metal, hard rock, and melodic rock. (Firewind "Allegiance" has those moments as well). Long live Leverage. (Bro Firetribe is good,too!)

10/06/08: Bill Spry - bspry@classxradio.com
Rating: 65
When I saw that this album had been released I was excited because their last one was so good. We played their last album on our Melodic Rock station in the US at http://classxradio.com but as I listen to this, their second album, I am having a hard time finding one track to play. This album is certainly missing "Hooks". There is nothing memorable here. The melodic rock rating of 93% is insanely high. How about 53%. It's the hooks that grab me and there are very few to be found here. This does not live up to their debut. With that said, we will be playing 2 tunes from the CD including "King Of The Night" and "Heart Of Darkness".

21/05/08: RockMan - purjfo98@msn.com
Rating: 85
Wow. It's ironic how close some of us are in our preferences. I, too, cannot find the brilliance and performance on this CD versus their debut. (Same for Brother Firetribe for me too Matt!) I think it's just that both of those debut's were so damn good that it would be impossible for the musicians to kick our ass again when it's not coming out of the blue. This is a very good disc, just not as good as Tides.

17/05/08: Peter - sudfryslan@yahoo.com
Rating: 78
A lot better than the debut, this one has more variation, depth and hooks in the songs.
The guitar work in general is brilliant.

I am just not hooked up on the singer, a kind of Verigal Sharky goes metal. I think this band would sound more convincing with a bit more throat.

In general itīs all a little to polished and slick, thatīs why I donīt see any real comparation with Masterplan, who have a far more rawer and blasting sound.

Leverage sounds promising, maybe the tird one nails it.


13/05/08: zok - micke_016@hotmail.com
Rating: 91
Leverage debut was awsome, and the new album it´s a good follow up, but I still prefer "Tides", because the debut is more simple, and the songs is more straight forward, on Blind Fire I get the feeling of to much some times. But you see my rate, and its a great record.

04/04/08: Louie - louie772@iprimus.com.au
Rating: 50
Its not clicking with me either. I really enjoyed the debut but none of the songs on this CD are memorable...they just dont have the spark that the songs from the first CD had.

04/04/08: Sava - svemirski_modulator@yahoo.com
Rating: 86
Better than debut!

03/04/08: Matt - bruges@comcast.net
Rating: 70
It's hard to put my finger on it, but this cd is not clicking with me. (Neither is the Brother Firetribe cd) These songs aren't memorable -- whether at the gym, home, or in my car, the only song that comes close to hitting the mark is Sentenced. Vocals make it or break it for me and Mr. Heino's vocals just aren't my cup of tea. But then again, Jorn Lande can't sing on every album can he?


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