Album review: LEVERAGE – Above The Beyond

Frontiers [Release date 15.10.21]

AOR, Melodic Rock, Power Metal, Progmetal … Leverage are none of these yet they are all of these. On their 5th album now and the music gets harder to define and easier to admire.

It’s perhaps best described as heavy rock with stunning melodies and a penchant for unconventional song structures, and indeed, challenging lyrical themes.

Judging by the rip roaring opener ‘Starlight’, the band’s restless musical aesthetic seems to have settled on Celtic rock. But that’s only the beginning, the first step on a musical journey that seems rich with possibilities, and never fails to excite.

They move through the album with an athletes speed and grace, threading traces of hard to pin down folk tunes through the torqued up, heavy metal guitars of the Art Rocking ‘Into The New World’, then carrying ‘Emperor’s hulking riff through radiant bursts of spine tingling guitar/keyboard orchestration, into a majestic, melodic rock chorus.

We might immediately assume that tthose tracks were the highpoints, but no, there’s much more. Like the fabulous AOR Metal of ‘Do You Love Me Now’, the Seventies’ Prog stylings of ‘Angelica’, echoing the distinctive tones of Robbie (Kansas) Steinhardt’s memorable violin moments.

It’s impossible to avoid comparisons … some bands’ music encompasses so many influences. ‘Under His Eye’ and ‘Falling Out Of Grace’ have fairly obvious religious connotations. The fact that they are delivered with the urgency of Tyketto’s muscular melodic rock, and the pomp of Brother Firetribe’s classy concertos doesn’t undermine the message.

All that said, they are still their own band. Kimmo Blom is a world class rock vocalist. Their music captures your imagination and and gets you where it counts.

There are no certainties in rock’n'roll, but I would wager that this album will top quite a few Best Of The Year lists come December. *****

Review by Brian McGowan

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Power Plays w/c 27 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
REVIVAL BLACK Broken Home (TMR Records)
FLOYA Epiphany (indie)
TWISTER Own Worst Enemy (indie)
MODERN MIMES Down And Dead (Curtain Call Records)
TUNGSTEN Northern Lights (Arising Empire)
THE GREAT LESLIE Feel Alive (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 27 June (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 GRACE Hope (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CLASSLESS ACT Welcome To the Show (Better Noise Music)
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