LEVERAGE – Above the Beyond
- by J.N.
- Posted on 16-12-2021
Label: Frontiers Records
Rating: 4 / 6
The Finnish heavy rock ensemble known as Leverage released their fifth full-length opus via Frontiers not that long ago and these guys are nothing if not productive. "Above the Beyond" is an eclectic mixture of hard rock and heavy metal where various ideas and traits from progressive rock and even folk-ish music sneak into the musical framework too, and one could easily make the argument that this is their most varied yet accessible output yet. Moments of brightness and melodicism abound, and Leverage undoubtedly have a knack for combining multiple ideas in one song.
There is something entertaining about their style that lends the group a distinctive musical identity and there is simply no doubting their commitment to writing intriguing and original rock music with loads of colors and flavors to it. However, the record is a bit short on cohesiveness and too often it veers off its course and loses its focus and momentum. I applaud the fact that they are so creative and full of ideas, but the album is not a musically intoxicating place to visit at all times. Some parts are simply meandering and without goal or purpose to these ears. Having said that, several of the melodies, riffs, and vocal hooks are candy for the ears and the one of the charming things about the group is that they are quite difficult to pigeonhole or classify in terms of genre. The latter half of the disc is where it peaks thanks to "Under His Eye" and "Falling Out of Grace" – both of which remind me slightly of Rainbow – and there are actually numerous passages throughout that remind me of 70s and 80s hard rock and heavy metal LPs in general, which is cool, so give "Above the Beyond" a spin if you fancy listening to something that draws on the past while simultaneously looking to the future. Just steer clear of the dreadful ballad that is "Angelica", okay?
The positives do outweigh the negatives here, but this is not necessarily one that I will revisit that often in the future. Highly creative stuff but not necessarily essential, that is.