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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Reviews: Leverage, Paragon, Night Screamer, Diagonal Path (Rich & Matt)

Leverage: DeterminUs (Frontiers Records) [Rich]

DeterminUs is the fourth album from Finnish heavy metallers Leverage. It is their first album in 10 years and also the first album to feature new singer Kimmo Blom who replaced Pekka Heino (of Brother Firetribe). Leverage play heavy metal mixed with the stylings of melodic hard rock, power metal and AOR with songs that play to the strengths of each of these different styles and influences. You have the pounding metal of songs such as Tiger and Mephistocrate and the AOR leanings of When We Were Young and Rollerball and other songs that straddle the line between all the different influences.

There is a distinct folk influence in play as well especially in the guitar melodies most evident on the fantastic Wind Of Morrigan which was the clear highlight of the album for me. Singer Kimmo Blom shows all his strengths on his debut album with an impressive performance and the performances from the rest of the band are also top notch throughout. DeterminUs is an enjoyable album which can appeal to both heavy metal and melodic hard rock fans though like many albums in this genre whilst enjoyable is rather disposable and not something I would come back to listen to. That could be more down to my personal musical preferences rather than the bands writing and performances more than anything though. 7/10

Paragon: Controlled Demolition (Massacre Records)

Paragon have been a force in German metal since 1990 as such Controlled Demolition is their 12th album. So have they turned into a jazz band overnight? The answer is an emphatic no as the self titled instrumental bleeds into the ripping opening of Reborn which gets the blood pumping with some of the classic Teutonic metal sound created by Accept with speed metal riffs coming at you like the Perseid Meteor shower as Andreas Babuschkin has the Udo-like snarl. Those riffs are cranked out by Jan Bertram, Günny Kruse and Martin Christian (who is a studio guitarist only) and they are on the harder side of the power metal sound as the German metal bands are but here Paragon have released the heaviest record of their career as songs such as Musangwe (B.K.F), Timeless Souls and The Enemy Within being the full blow thrash numbers. The latter especially is an absolute ripper with Black Widow having a great rhythm gallop from Jan Bünning (bass) and Sören Teckenburg (drums). Controlled Demolition is another slab of heavy German metal from these masters of the genre. 7/10

Night Screamer: Dead Of Night (Self Released)

It almost like the 80's metal scene never went away! London metal band Night Screamers would love you to think this was the case with Dead Of Night their debut full length which follows two previous EP's. Normally when we get an album like this it's NWOBHM at it's gallopi filled best but Night Screamer are a lot more American in their style bringing to mind the early years of Blackie Lawless and W.A.S.P when he still F*cked Like A Beast, the references to Blackie are down to Gadd's sleazy sounding vocals. It's the sleaze that pervades through this record that makes it different to the numerous 80's influenced metal bands around. A track such as Blood On The Wall (F***ed It Up) has a chugging groove too it but the dual guitar sound pervades through to the Sunset Strip swagger on Hit N Run and beyond. This is not an album meant to change the world, not by a long shot, but it's decent enough metal though the vocals are an acquired taste, but they make a song like March Of The Dead Still if you think W.A.S.P have lost their edge then maybe Night Screamer maybe your new Crimson Idols. 7/10

Diagonal Path: The Die Off (Self Released)

Well this is an interesting record there is very little information about this band that I can find online buy what I do know is that their first single,, which is the heaviest on the record, YCREM features the drum talents of Leperous Sticksmith Baard Kolstad, who will also be releasing a new Rendezvous Point record soon, as well as having a brilliant solo from Soilwork's Peter Wichers. It's one of a number of excellent songs on this dark metal record that's drenched in sorrow and has a mournful tone throughout with a progressive edge too bringing to mind Katatonia, Leprous and Paradise Lost. Tracks such as Will Of The Wasp and Room are split up by three atmospheric, mostly acoustic, instrumentals in the shape of The Lie, Mercy and Retrogress which give this album a flow of a conceptual piece. It's billed as a full length record but it's only 26 minutes long which in progressive metal terms (the genre tag this band attract) is one song (see: Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence) but it's an album that is absorbing for the full 26 minute run time, I just wish it was a little longer. 7/10

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