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Album Review: LEANDER RISING Heart Tamer

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When asked where metal comes from, most fans will name The United States, The United Kingdom, Germany, and the Scandinavian lands as responsible for the vast abundance of noise and aggression we all enjoy. However, one should not forget the wealth of talent which lies in lesser known locations. Admittedly, if you were to ask me, “Drew, are there any good Hungarian Metal bands”, my answer would be “well, I’ve only really listened to Sear Bliss, but I’m sure there are others as well.” Leander Rising hails from Hungary’s capital city of Budapest and includes singer/songwriter/bassist/keyboard player Leander Köteles, along with drummer Bela Budai, guitarist Jozzy, and former Nevermore touring guitarist Attila Vörös. Signed to Sony Music and with guest appearances from Jeff Loomis and Chris Broderick, the band seems to have a lot going for it. So how does Heart Tamer measure up?

After an unnecessary piano laden-intro, the album kicks off with Sin Number Eight. At first, the song made a slightly awkward impression on me. But as the song grew on me, I was impressed by the amount of influences that the band weaves into their music. In one song, Leander Rising mixes the power of Trivium and In Flames with melodies reminiscent of 90’s-era Megadeth, with even a few shades of My Dying Bride colored in. As I listened to the album, the band’s goal of broad, cross-appeal became abundantly clear. After all, their website bio clearly states: “the dichotomy within their sound will gain them fans across the metal, hardcore and rock scenes.” As a reviewer who identifies with all three camps, I would have to say that Heart Tamer is an enjoyable and valiant effort on the part of a band attempting to make their own signature sound.

The band has some creative edges to iron out to match their ambition and skill. While some of the lyrics strike fit perfectly, others come off as awkward and overused (forgivable to a point with a band whose members hold English as their second language). Some of the songs could stand to be a little shorter as well. But I do like how the band mixes clean mid-range vocals with throaty growls and some of their melodies are genuinely engaging. However, I get the impression that this album has been mostly conceived as a collection of creations dating from the project’s start in 2009- as it bears the mark of a band’s sound still evolving. In other words, I’m interested to see what the band does with their second album.

6 out of 10**

Favorite Songs: My Spring My Storm, On This Day, Six Feet Under

**HOWEVER- I have to hand it to them for attempting a heavy metal cover of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, something that either indicates a great sense of humor, or an enormous pair of artistic balls!

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