Signed to SONY Music right out of the gate (which rarely happens these days for a metal band), Hungarian outfit Leander Rising are unleashing Heart Tamer on the world, a glorious mix of extreme & progressive metal styles that is sure to raise plenty of eyebrows. Formed by Leander Köteles (vocals, songwriter, lyricist, keys & bass), the band also features ace guitarist Attila Vörös (Nevermore), guitarist & violinist Jozzy, and drummer Bela Budai. The new CD was mixed and mastered in Sweden by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Amon Amarth, God Forbid, Katatonia, Soilwork, Kreator), with artwork by Robert Borbas (Metallica, Suicide Silence, Bring Me The Horizon) and guest appearances by Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore) and Chris Broderick (Megadeth), who both provide some sizzling lead guitar on a few tracks. The band is already a hit in Hungary, and judging by this scorching debut it's safe to say that they are setting their sights on the US market.
Köteles' is quite a formidable vocalist, as he mixes powerful clean vocals with raging death metal growls & screams to great effect. The music here combines melodic death metal savagery with complex progressive metal, all with a modern twist. Though you can hear influences of Opeth, Scar Symmetry, Into Eternity, Katatonia, and Nevermore, for the most part Leander Rising have a pretty fresh sound to them, and the varied vocal attack combined with the constantly shifting & churning riffs make for an exciting listen. The pulverizing title track contains plenty of crunchy, complex riffs from Vörös & Jozzy, while the catchy melodies of "Sin Number Eight" and "My Spring, My Storm" perfectly mesh with the extreme elements of each song. Guitar wise, there's plenty of blazing fretwork going on here, as not just the riffs are scorching, but these guys also lay down a wide assortment of superhuman solos as well. Just listen to Attila's Dimebag influenced leads on the ballad "Gloomy Sunday", a great tune that starts off as a Queen inspired lullaby before morphing into a frenzied metal fest, calmly ending on a quiet piano led note. Symphonic keyboards back the otherwise pummeling "The Devil's Diary", as Leander alternates between poignant vocals and violent death metal growls. "Reborn" is another glorious ballad-meets-crushing extreme metal barnburner, as Leander's delicate crooning and piano eventually gives way to bombastic riffing, growls, and soaring clean vocals. Acclaimed axe master Broderick guests on the lush "Two Worlds And I", a more acoustic based song that also features a nice violin solo from Jozzy, and the thrashy death metal of "Six Feet Under" sees the always impressive Loomis deliver a scorching solo. The real hoot here is the cover of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance", complete with huge riffing and Leander's clean vocals and lethal growls, which needs to be heard to be believed.
All in all, Heart Tamer is a very enjoyable album of melodic & extreme metal sounds with a progressive edge, and should find plenty of fans outside of Leander Rising's native Hungary.
1. Mmxii 1:24
2. Sin Number Eight 4:03
3. My Spring, My Storm 3:32
4. Ghost Away (International Version) 5:55
5. Bound To Belong 4:27
6. Heart Tamer [Explicit] 4:28
7. Gloomy Sunday 4:30
8. The Devil's Diary 4:58
9. Reborn (International Version) 5:48
10. Diamond And Coal (International Version) [Explicit] 3:48
11. Two Worlds And I 5:19
12. On This Day 5:08
13. Six Feet Under 6:59
14. Bad Romance (Leander Version) 4:45