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Leverage - Above the Beyond Award winner

Above the Beyond
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 08 January 2022, 7:49 AM

The commercial praise and success of STRATOVARIUS during the second half of the 90’s can be said as an important fact to the consolidation of the Finnish Power Metal scene, and of the creation of the ‘trademark’ sound that can be said as Finnish Power Metal (because there’s a national inner core that is particular for Finnish bands). So it’s not a sin to admit this as a historical fact, and that everyone that came after holds such features. And the sextet LEVERAGE has such features on their music, as can be heard on “Above the Beyond”, the band’s latest album.

The band shows a personal approach of what is Finnish Power Metal, using a form that has more emphasis on a melodic and accessible approach (using a lot of elements of 80’s AOR) than on fast drums and shreds, but still holding the technical weight of the genre, but with a modern outfit and even carrying some German Metal touches (it can be heard clearly on the guitars on “Under His Eyes”). Of course one can ask if the band works on a particular form, and the answer is that someone who carries 17 years of experience over the shoulders can’t endure such time without having a personal approach. It’s really good. The guitarist Tuomas Heikkinen took hold of the producer duties, carrying all the responsibility. And the things work on a great way: loud, clean and defined, but with the right amount of musical weight and with the right instrumental tunes. But as “Above the Beyond” is an album of a Finnish Power Metal band, what the fans could expect unless such result?

This is their fifth album, so expect a mature musical work, using all the elements of the genre to create something really good. And maybe the energy and melodic appeal of “Starlight” (very good arrangements, and a great work from keyboards and guitars, and what a lovely chorus), the classic Heavy/Power Metal approach used on “Emperor” and “Into the New World” (bass guitar and drums are really great, with a heavy work, and the melodic lines seems to use some 80’s AOR touches), the accessible appeal of the melodies of “Do You Love Me Now” (even with such heavy guitar riffs), the heavy embodiment of the guitars on “Under His Eye”, and the mix between Finnish Power Metal elements with an AOR outfit used on “Falling out of Grace” are the best parts of the album, even with such homogeneous balance between the songs.

Maybe some traditionalists (boring conservatives) fans will have complaints, but no one can deny that LEVERAGE did a great work on “Above the Beyond”. And it’s really a form of seduction made into music.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Starlight
2. Emperor
3. Into the New World
4. Do You Love Me Now
5. Angelica
6. Under His Eye
7. Falling out of Grace
8. Galleria
9. Silence
Kimmo Blom - Vocals
Mikko Salovaara - Guitars
Tuomas Heikkinen - Guitars
Marko Niskala - Keyboards
Sami Norrbacka - Bass
Valtteri Revonkorpi - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Music


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