Roni Leppä Band - 'The First Step'

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Roni Leppä Band - 'The First Step'

A great first step.

The Roni Leppä Band are another band hailing from the frozen north, Finland this time. I knew nothing about Leppä but listened to the album before even researching him; I was blown away by the voice. Leppä was a contestant in the Finnish version of the reality show 'The Voice' and was monitored by non-other than Finnish legend Michael Monroe. After the show in 2014, Leppä was encouraged by Monroe to form a band and so we have the result the Roni Leppä Band. Leppä recruited Jake Manning on guitar, Jyri Tikka on bass and drummer Tommi Kolsi, with Leppä handling vocals and rhythm guitar.

'Sailor Joe' launches the album with its Blues rhythms and the deep and wonderful Tenor tones of Leppä, his range and depth are incredible; also striking is the wonderful guitar sound drifting in and out of scorching melodies. 'Came Through Hell' begins with a deep sounding melody and the sultry depth of Leppä's voice complementing each other, it's a definite foot-tapper. The ballad 'Northern Lights' is a soulful ballad and Leppä's sounds like he's been plucked from the seventies Classic Rock fold; this would have been a huge hit back in the day.

The album continues in the same vein with short, sharp punchy songs all slightly different to showcase the voice. 'One Thing' reminds me of what Elvis Presley would have sounded like doing a Bond theme tune, while 'Darkside' is the heaviest track on the album with soaring guitar and a cracking rhythm. Mentor Monroe makes a guest appearance on 'Cold Hearted Man', contributing backing vocals, some wonderful saxophone breaks and his trademark harmonica.

'The First Step' is an album Leppä and the band can be proud of, this young group have shown, through these nine tracks, that they have the songs and the ability to go far. Leppä would be a fantastic front-man for a Classic Hard Rock styled act, he has the range and tone to be up there amongst the best. The album would be difficult to put into a genre, it contains slices of Blues, Melodic and Classic Hard Rock, yet still sounds contemporary in parts. Don't be put off by the album cover, you will not be disappointed and Leppä's star is definitely on the rise; a great first step.

Mick Parry

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