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Leverage - 2008 Blind Fire

ARTIST: Leverage
ALBUM: Blind Fire
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2008
CD REISSUE: 2008, Avalon (Japan), MICP-10708


LINEUP: Pekka Heino - vocals * Torsti Spoof - guitar * Tuomas Heikkinen - guitar * Marko Niskala - keyboards * Pekka Lampinen - bass * Valtteri Revonkorpi - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Shadow In The Rain * 02 King Of the Night * 03 Stormchild * 04 Sentenced * 05 Hellhorn * 06 Mr Universe * 07 Don't Touch The Sun * 08 Run Down * 09 Heart Of Darkness * 10 Learn To Live



Someone elsewhere on the Interweb suggested that Leverage won't take anyone by surprise second time around, and I agree wholeheartedly with that point. Though they were part of the Metal Heaven roster for 2006's 'Tides' album, it's not as if these guys were flying around in stealth mode, but because of the plethora of hard rock/metal releases during that year, the perception was that 'Tides' was a low key release - which it wasn't. The new album 'Blind Fire' is rightfully getting a lot of good reviews. Leverage have managed to create an interesting sound for themselves, which kind of touches on Brazen Abbot, Royal Hunt and Cornerstone in places, along with a heavier Scandi prog/power metal style in other parts of the album. So what of the songs?

The Songs
Leverage prove to be strong out of the blocks - as 'Shadow In The Rain' gets things off to a powerful start. Second track in 'King Of The Night' is an absolute winner for me.. a brooding melody with keys phasing in and out of the song.. plus that chorus. A dark and deep keyboard entrance precedes 'Stormchild' which surges into a territory that Nikolo Kotsev knows only too well. 'Sentenced' slows the metronome a few notches, the prevailing feel is that of brooding hard rock. With a title like 'Hellhorn' you just know that metal is in order - and not a ballad. 'Mister Universe' has many unique parts to it, whether it be vocal, guitar and keys - ultimately rolling up into one powerful and demanding track - not forgetting a great chorus! 'Don't Touch The Sun' opens with a near jazz/classical intro that builds into an atmospheric slow-to-mid paced rocker which features mainly symphonic passages throughout. 'Heart Of Darkness' follows a similar pattern - a slow intro and then building momentum through the song. 'Run Down The Hill' is typical speedy euro-metal in the vein of Yngwie Malmsteen, but it's at the melodic end of the scale, a la Yngwie's 'Odyssey' and 'Fire And Ice' era. 'Learn To Live' closes the album - and an excellent power ballad it is too! The verses and chorus are uplifting, and it's topped off by a fiery guitar solo.

In Summary
For fans of Pekka Heino, well, you are about to get the second part of the double whammy - with the new Brother Firetribe album 'Heart Full Of Fire' just around the corner. In the meantime, I think many of you will be surprised just how good 'Blind Fire' is. Though they remind you of many metal/prog crossover bands in the genre, these guys rise like cream to the top purely because of their inherent sense of melody. For those of you familiar with their debut 'Tides', all I can say is that this album is slightly better.. Take a punt.

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