Lead the Way - And in Vengeance We Strike (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Lead the Way

And in Vengeance We Strike (2011)

Not Shy of the DIY

Lead the Way's press likens the band to punk luminaries such as Strike Anywhere, Propagandhi and Avail. There is no doubt that the first two bands mentioned have played an important part in shaping the sound of this band, with the Canadians' sound prevailing over the Virginians to my ear. It also mentions that they're influenced by/sound like Thin Lizzy! Okay, there are some guitar solos that do have that Lizzy sound, but it's not something that you hear too much. I'd add into the mix a link to Strung Out in some ways too. All that sounds either promising or a case of "I'm not too sure about this" depending on how you view those bands, and also whether you feel there is enough similar sounding bands around already.

Opening with "If It's Fixed", things look bright with the guitars sounding good and lyrics that are interesting plus full of venom. Next up is "Same Boss as the Old Boss", where the momentum is retained, with the song again featuring good lyrics. (One annoying point, however: Why do both of these tracks have to start with the faded/muffled sound before springing into action?). Up fourth on the album is the one real high point here, "Headlines", which is a belter of a track and for me the best song on the album by a long stretch.

Unfortunately, from there on in, it's all a bit too repetitive for me until the penultimate track, "Hiding Behind the Flag", which gets me interested again. Overall, Lead the Way are too much like Propagandhi in approach and sound, a band I find that I can take or leave rather than rave about. The one consistent thing that I do like about the record is that the lyrics are strong throughout, with a very much punk feel at their core. I would imagine that these could easily be shifted into a band that was more hardcore and less metallic in their sound, allowing them to come into their own a lot more.

This album starts off in quite a positive way where everything seems to click with the three of the first four tracks, but from then on in I just sort of switch off as it's doing nothing for me. I can't say I dislike it, but neither can I say it's something I really like. Even with repeated plays it's not winning me over, which seems to indicate that beyond that decent quartet of tracks it's all a bit too mediocre and uninspiring.

This gets 2.5 stars for the decent EP it could have been, for the lyrics that are worthy of note and the excellent cover art; otherwise it would have been a 2-star review.