I did this review over the holiday period as my reviewers were having a break and I wanted something up for the new year. This one is released on January 20th, so we are having an early dip into it! It’s a rocker, so it blows away any lingering festive hangovers. The single “Gonna Do It” was released in October, and the band has also put up an official video for “Resonate” (you can watch “Gonna Do It” at the end of the review, and the links to download both singles are also here). The album will be released via Rockshots Records. The album follows their debut album “Outta Door” released through VR Label Finland in 2017, so the second album has been 5 years in the making. Was it worth the wait?
First of all, the background!
Formed in 2013, LEAFLET is a four-piece hard rock band from Turku, Finland. Their music can be described as metal-infused American-style hard rock,
“Our musical cocktail is a blend of many things. Although we love the 80s, we are trying to keep our hard rock fresh and not follow the retro route,” the band says.
The band has performed at Finnish festivals such as Kuopiorock and Saaristo Open Air, along with touring across their home country to support their debut album. They also spent time on the road in the Baltics with Willie & the Goodsouls in 2018, playing clubs and festivals.
With this album, the aim has to be to break out of the home base and into the hard rock communities of the UK and the US. Where metal has been at a bit of a slump in recent years over here, the Baltics (and especially Finland) have really kept that flame alive, and this is really a straightforward melodic metal album that thrives on a heavy drum sound, soaring guitar riffs, and commercial chorus lines. It looks back at the metal era and gives the concept a modern polish.
To the album. It opens with “Gonna Do It,” a rousing opener full of heavy riffs, raised fists and a melodic chorus. It has clear commercial appeal and blasts the listener into 2023.
“‘Gonna Do It’ is about the feeling of getting stuck in your life. You realize it is time for a change, and that it is your own duty to change the course of your life. Of course, there is a risk involved, and it feels scary as hell, but you need to hear yourself saying: “Gonna do it.” ‘Gonna’ is the heaviest track we have written so far. We had several versions of it and ended up pretty much re-writing the whole song during the pre-production process. “We are glad we did because the end result sounds absolutely stunning with its monster opening riff, crushing chorus, and epic guitar solo!” The band comments on the song.
“Resonate” is next up, a gear change initially from the opener. It’s a bit darker and reminds me of some of the “Dio” solo material (by no means a bad thing). This one has a great drum sound from Pekka Jokela. In fact, Pekka produces a solid drum groove throughout the album, I was unaware of him before listening to this album, but he is a bit of a monster behind those sticks.
“Alone Alive” is a lyrically dreamy piece (great drum sound again), and with a slightly magpie feel to the lyrics, it is interesting.
“Earth” is great fun. It is the band’s attempt to be environmentally conscious while conveying a positive message. It has a sing-along feel and would make a strong live track, I’m sure. The guitar sound is great here, with some pleasing hooks.
“Johnny Two-Face” was my favourite from the album, and it’s one that has been out for a while. It was released as a single through VR Label Finland, followed by an ambitious music video shot in both Turku, Finland, and Tokyo, Japan (we included that below). It, again, has some great hooks, a feel good melody, and the vocals here are nailing it. This has an eighties KISS vibe to it, a thumbs up from us.
“Tattoos of Life” returned to a harder metal sound, it’s a slower track, a track that came and went a bit for me.
“Shades of Black” is a return to traditional metal territory, a no-mess rocker with a few lyrical devils thrown in for good (deliberate oxymoron from your reviewer there, lol). It has a solid bass and drum support, and the vocals again were spot-on..
“Someone Somewhere” was generally menacing, but it really just led into the album closer, “Something Beyond,” which was a clever number, blending styles, that I would have had earlier on the album running order. A strong track, it closes the album on a high.
The band say of the album:
“With this album, we are definitely showing that rock music is alive and pumping! The album is full of catchy metal-influenced rock tunes that would fit perfectly in the heavy rotation of every rock radio station. The album has a lot of variety within the songs, and the singles are also varied. Three very different singles attempting to best represent the entire album. As singles, we got one heavy and hard-hitting tune, one straightforward and super catchy tune, and one fast-paced, in-your-face type of tune.”
Absolutely! If you are a fan of 80s metal with a strong modern feel, then this is great stuff. It’s a shame there has been such a gap between albums for them, but they have created a strong album with some feel good metal grooves to be the first review we have done in 2023!
1. Gonna Do It – 4:12
2. Resonate – 3:40
3. Alone Alive – 3:50
4. Earth – 3:54
5. Johnny Two-Face – 4:01
6. Tattoos of Life – 3:43
7. Shades of Black – 2:55
8. Someone Somewhere – 3:51
9. Something Beyond – 4:48
Album Length: 34:59
Jaakko Leaflet – lead vocals & guitar
Antti Kallio – guitar & backing vocals
Fabian Korsström – bass & backing vocals
Pekka Jokela – drums
By Benny (the Ball) Benson
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