Released: 2009, Indie
The advantage of these one-man band things is that there is a purity of vision. No compromise, no debate about direction, musical differences or any of that extraneous nonsense. Leo based in the tiny hamlet of Venice, Alberta has got that artistic vision and it shows. It’s a pretty small place so it is unlikely that he could find a committed band, let alone have a place to play this kind of music live. So, if you want something done…
Recorded at home with Leo doing everything it sounds really good. Even the programmed drums sound like real drums. The sound is big and full, he obviously knows his way around the recording gear. The final presentation is good as well, lyrics, a couple of photos, eye-catching cover and so on. It does not look independent or budget in any way.
Lyrically the songs are in the fantasy and epic realm, not in a Dungeons and Dragons style (ala Rhapsody of fire) but certainly concerned with matters of heaven, hell, demons, and so on. It is a bit of a first person concept album about being abducted to hell, the search for freedom, escape, redemption and assorted adventures along the way with guardian demons! Awesome!
Sonically this is an excellent hybrid of Thrash and Power Metal. In an odd way it’s a little bit like ANNIHILATOR, not really on the frantic end of the thrash scale but not on the flowery end of Power Metal either. Heavier ICED EARTH or even MEGADETH might be a touchstone. There are some flourishes with acoustic guitar like in the cut ‘Desire To Rise’ but for the most part this is a driven guitar oriented affair. Leos vocals are gruff, but powerful, more narrative and spoken in delivery moreso than pure singing with lots of sustained notes. There are many pieces of spoken word narration that add characterization to the story.
I wish I had got this last month when I was doing my Alberta Metal feature. Leo deserves to be a part of that group of exciting new bands from Alberta that are world class.