Circus Colossus

Written by: PK on 23/12/2009 01:10:15

It is always satisfying when you discover a band you didn't know was out there. There is nothing quite like listening to an album for the first time and being totally rewarded for taking a chance. OK, so I realise that I didn't take a chance on this particular band seeing as it was my task to listen to the album and review it, but you know what I mean... "Circus Colossus" is the third album from Finnish melodic heavy rock/metal band Leverage, who first appeared on the scene back in 2006. They have certainly made fast progress in the music world since then, and it seems that they are tipped to go places over the next year or so by various sources. I, for one, certainly wouldn't bet against it.

"So what sort of sound do they have?" I hear you cry. Well, as guitarist Tuomas Heikkinen states, Leverage are not "one of those ultra fast, double bass drum, odd time rollercoaster prog-power-metal bands...our music bows to the great heritage of melodic heavy rock with a modern touch". And the guy is not wrong. There are parts throughout the album that draw on elements usually found in power and symphonic metal, such as the odd keyboard solo or orchestral arrangement, but the album could not be solely classified as either of those. Several songs are what you would call riff based, something you might associate more with hard rock. So you could say there's a little something for everyone on "Circus Colossus"...

One of the things that really stands out on this album is the voice of frontman Pekka Heino, this guy can sing. His vocals really are spot on. Production of the record is top notch, as is the song writing (credit for this mainly goes to Heikkinen). Right from the atmospheric orchestral introduction of "Rise" which thunders into the opening bars of "Wolf and the Moon" through to the final track "Broken Wings", this is an album that has clearly been put together with a lot of thought and attention. "Movie Gods" is another thumping track with an almost 'punch the air' chorus that is so damn catchy. One can only speculate, but it appears that this song is the band's way of paying homage to their acting heroes..."Silver screen immortals" as they put it, which makes for an interesting (and somewhat unique) song topic. Both "Riders of Storm" and "Prisoners" tend to lean a further into the power metal camp. The latter in particular is simply a superb song, fast paced with a thunderous opening, an epic chorus belted out by Heino, keyboard and guitar solos…a definite contender for best track on the album. And if you ballad fans were thinking that Leverage have forgotten you, fear not; the simple but effective "Don't Keep Me Waiting" again finds singer Heino at his best.

"Circus Colossus" really did catch me by surprise. It normally takes quite a few plays of a record to truly determine what you think of it. Some albums grow on you over time, but this one did not need any time at all. Leverage have put out a fantastic album, and having since gone back and listened to their previous album "Blind Fire", it is obvious that "Circus Colossus" is not the first quality record that they have made. This band does deserve to go places, just as people are predicting. It may be a little too late now to put this album on your Christmas list, but sell off the inevitable knitted sweater from Granny and grab yourself a copy of "Circus Colossus".


Download: Wolf and the Moon, Movie Gods, Legions of Invisible, Prisoners
For the fans of: Kamelot, Edguy,
Listen: myspace.com/leverageband

Release Date 04.11.2009
Spinefarm Records

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