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Leverage - Determinus

by Sean McGuirk at 15 June 2019, 5:31 AM

Finland’s LEVERAGE has a funny biography on their Facebook page, it begins with “What the hell is Leverage?” It’s an apt question, as the band seems to defy any strict modern sub-genre labeling. While previous records may have strayed deeper into Power Metal territory, their latest “DeterminUs” is even more mystifying. This may be due to the addition of vocalist Kimmo Blom, who replaces a more traditional Jorn Lande-sounding Pekka Heino. Blom is adept at subverting your expectations, adding in a dose of flair and charisma that makes the songs a tad more weighty and less-predictable this time around.

From the name of the band you might think this will be a Prog-Metal showcase of wizard-like musicianship, but while each member of the six-piece is skilled, it’s all in service to the song. “Burn Love Burn” is a fantastic opener, with perhaps the strongest melodies on the entire disc. Marko Niskala’s keys have decent volume, layering with most of the riffing to create a ‘70’s DEEP PURPLE vibe.  Blom’s vocals stylings are Glenn Hughes-ian, breathing life and an almost darkly comic air to songs like “Tiger” and “Mephistocrate,” the former no doubt inspired by RAMMSTEIN, while the latter has a tongue-in-cheek gothic feel. A music video was filmed for “Winds of Morrigan,” which plays like a Dio-era RAINBOW track.  Indeed, there are a lot of Dad Rock references on the album, like on “Afterworld’s Disciple” with its “Heaven and Hell” homage in the verse.  Dueling guitarists Tuomas Heikkinen and Mikko Salovaara show some skilled versatility on the record, with a Spanish guitar section in “Hand of God” and more acoustic stylings in the sword-and-sandals closer “Troy,” and the added unplugged version of “Winds of Morrigan.”

While the band successfully avoids giving into any metal trend of the moment, they also don’t exactly show us much of anything novel with this set of songs. There’s plenty of ear-catching melodies delivered with skill and pristine production, but there’s also a strong heard-that-before quality to much of it. Still, it’s refreshing to hear a modern Heavy Rock band take influence from the golden past while still being their own band and not a carbon copy. This one’s certainly worth checking out, even if you were expecting something different.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Burn Love Burn
2. Wind of Morrigan
3. Tiger
4. Red Moon Over Sonora
5. Mephistocrate
6. Afterworld's Disciple
7. When We Were Young
8. Heaven's No Place For Us
9. Hand of God
10. Rollerball
11. Troy
12. Wind of Morrigan (Acoustic Version)
Kimmo Blom - Vocals
Tuomas Heikkinen - Guitar
Mikko Salovaara - Guitar
Sami Norrbacka - Bass
Marko Niskala - Keyboards
Valtteri Revonkorpi – Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Music


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