After Repertoire Records reissued the 1971 debut Growers of Mushroom from British hard rock legends Leaf Hound a few years back, it was only appropriate that they also release the first new recordings from this band in 36 years. 2007's Unleashed, which sees original singer Peter French fronting the new line-up of guitarist Luke Rayner, bassist Ed Pearson, and drummer Jimmy Rowland, successfully hones in on that bluesy heavy rock style that the original Leaf Hound spearheaded all those years ago. It's modern sounding, but still containing those classic elements that are near and dear to so many fans.
French, who also went on to play with both Atomic Rooster and Cactus after leaving Leaf Hound, is in surprisingly very good form vocally here, and he has quite the find in young guitar stud Rayner. Heavy rockers like "The Man With the Moon in Him", "One Hundred and Five Degrees", and "Stop, Look and Listen" contain plenty of beefy, snarling heavy rock riffs that will appease any fan of the original Leaf Hound album, as well as other acts like Humble Pie, Bad Company, Mountain, and Foghat. "Barricades" and "Nickels and Dimes" have a fun, blues-rock vibe to them that's not unlike some of the Rolling Stones '70s output, while "Too Many Rock 'N' Roll Times" mixes Cream & Ten Years After styled swagger thanks to French's great vocal and some scorching blues-rock riffs from Rayner. The band even does a great heavy cover of the Atomic Rooster song "Breaththrough", paying tribute to the late Hammond organ master Vincent Crane, with Rayner tossing in some massive riffs and solos to cover all the original organ parts.
Honestly, this is as pure a '70s styled heavy rock album as you are going to get in this day and age. French, who I must once again stress, sounds fantastic here, has done a great job assembling a red-hot band of younger guys to help him carry out his current vision of Leaf Hound. If you like this sort of thing, don't miss out on Unleashed, and we can only hope the band have something else new up their sleeves, as this one is now six years old. Word has it that they are working on a live album to be released sometime in late 2013, which should really be something to look forward to.
1) One Hundred and Five Degrees
3) The Man With the Moon in Him
4) Nickels and Dimes
5) Stop, Look and Listen
7) Too Many Rock 'n' Roll Times