Leo – Nightmares

Leo – Nightmares / 2007 DreamMakers / 14 Tracks / http://www.leotheband.com / http://www.rockridgemusic.com /

Leo is a band that has been able to reach the tars without truly breaking it big yet. While “Nightmares” will change that, Leo has made somewhat of a name for themselves opening up for bands such as Breaking Benjamin and Sick Puppies, along with doing a live set at this year’s South by Southwest.

However many fans they accumulated with these live sets, it is only a drop in the bucket for the number of fans that would flock to the band’s cause after they heard the entirety of “Nightmares”, released this year on Rock Ridge Music. The disc opens up with a short intro, and Leo finally whets their fans’ appetites with their first full track, “Na Na”. “Na Na” continues with the emotional intensity that is present in the introductory track, but further expands the band’s repertoire by including a tempestuous hard rock track. The vocals have a passing comparison to that of a Geddy Lee or a Billie Joe Armstrong, but should not be taken as derivative. The band gradually shifts into a more emotional style, a style shift that is maintained through “Horizon”. “Horizon” is Leo’s first unqualified single off of “Nightmares”, and the song continues the heavily-layered style of the musical arrangements present.

The band lays off the heaviness for a few seconds during “Lake”, but it is just a matter of time before they move back to the heavy style that is their hallmark on the earlier tracks of this disc. It is first during “Broken Records” that the band shifts their style substantially; while the band does go back to an emotionally intense state, their sustained use of a different style will motivate listeners to listen to the rest of the tracks on the disc. “Sheppard” is the most interesting track on the whole of “Nightmares” for me, as it includes synthesizers and an arrangement that is completely different from anything individuals had heard up to this point. Leo may love their hard rock, but they are not beholden to it; there are a few times during the disc where they pull out a curveball and really take their listeners for a loop. This desire of Leo is what makes the band shine the brightest in my eyes, and why they will be big if they can forge on in the next few years.

Top Tracks: Horizon, Na Na

Rating: 6.0/10

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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