I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Genre: Power/Speed Metal
Release: Stormspell Records, 2020
Stormspell Records' newest discovery LeadBreaker are comin' at ya straight outta Gävle, Sweden, and they're on a mission to "level the world into a wasteland with their boneshattering (sic) heavy metal," according to the statement on their Facebook page. Additionally, the four Swedes promise that their new self titled debut album is an "Aural time machine that will take you back to the glorious times when heavy metal was primal, true, and pure!" That sure sounds like good clean Metal fun to me, kids, so c'mon, let's strap on those spiked gauntlets, fire up the DeLorean and see what this youthful looking quartet is all about...
Finding background info on LeadBreaker was a difficult task - they're so new, they don't even have a page on Metal-Archives! -- so about all I can tell you is that LeadBreaker apparently formed in 2017 and released their first demo in 2018. Their self titled debut album was produced and mixed by fellow Swede Cederick "Ced" Forsberg (of Blazon Stone and Rocka Rollas fame) and it contains ten tracks of power packed, hard rockin', high energy heavy/speed metal steeped in the grand traditions of the NWOBHM and early '80s (pre-thrash) scenes. If you still worship at the altars of DiAnno-era Maiden, Angel Witch, early Raven, British Steel-era Judas Priest, and Saxon, then you're definitely in LeadBreaker's ballpark.
"The First LeadBreaker Era" Promo Video:
Crank it Up!
LeadBreaker hits the ground running with the opening mission statement "Wild and Free," a tight, riff packed number that had me nodding my head along in no time. Guitarist/vocalist Daniel Olsson's nasally singing style took a few minutes to get used to, but it fits the frenzied pace of the material nicely (he sounds like a less screechy version of Raven's John Gallagher from time to time), and he and fellow six stringer Adam Blom create a formidable guitar tag team as well. A quick drum workout from Oskar Holmgren leads into the Maiden-ish "The Hammer Strikes," and I have to admit I chuckled at how the band pronounced "Strikes" with two syllables ("the hammer stuh-rikes!") during the chorus.
The bass by Markus Winchester at the start of "Sacrifice" recalls Maiden's "Wrathchild," and "Into the Fire" gallops along at a nice, bouncy, head bobbing rhythm. "Uncrown the King" sounds like something off of the first Fastway album; the irresistible riffing is an air guitarist's dream! .
The epic length "New World Order" sits comfortably at the album's midway point, clocking in at 11 and a half minutes (!) of heavy riffing, moody time changes and chugging instrumental passages, leading into the seven-minute-plus "A Test From the Gods," which shows LeadBreaker at their chunkiest.
"Torture (In the Night)" and "Running Out Of Time" are a pair of zippy speed metal numbers and the album comes to a close with the anthem "LeadBreaker," which means that these guys have joined the proud ranks of bands who have a song named after themselves on their self titled debut album (see: Black Sabbath, Overkill, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, etc.). This track also clears up any confusion listeners may have about the pronunciation of the band's name - the "Lead" part rhymes with "bed," not "heed." Thanks for that, fellas. It was bothering me all through the album (haha).
"Uncrown The King"
Obviously LeadBreaker is not a band that's trying to re-invent the heavy metal wheel. However, the ten tracks on offer here prove that they are skilled at laying down classic metal jams, and this album is a ton of retro-flavored head-banging fun. I really enjoy their dedication to maintaining the "old school" vibe, right down to the throwback VHS style effects on their music video for "Uncrown the King," which looks like you're watching a long-lost concert bootleg from 1984, complete with tracking errors and video glitches!
Stormspell Records has always had a gift for discovering cool underground heavy metal bands with a classic '80s flair, and LeadBreaker (the band and the album) is no exception.