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Crossover at its best - 90%

EdwardtheBlack, April 19th, 2006

Leeway are probably the one NYHC/crossover band I actually bothered remembering any of the songs to. DRI, Cro Mags, and Underdog are all great bands I can enjoy listening to, but other than "We Gotta Know" I cannot name a single one of their collective songs off the top of my head. In my mind, Leeway wrote the songs that flawlessly combined metal with hardcore, even if it was for just one album. "Rise and Fall" introduces the album perfectly, and NYHC in general. Live hard, live fast, and make a memorable exit to the other side. Unlike future NYHC bands like Skarhead, Leeway's dilemma seemed legitimate and definitely not funny. Just uncomfortable.

On the musical side of things, everything was spot on. Not only were the lyrics hard hitting, but they were well sung. While most other NYHC bands prefer the pissed off bark, the vocals lie some place between the bark and a legitimate heavy metal singer. Eddie Sutton comes off perfectly as a street-smart NWOBHM singer. The guitars are perfect in the mix; the riff to "Mark of the Squealer" is always stuck in my head; the solos are fast and technical; everything about the guitars just makes me smile when I hear it. The rhythm section is always in tow and never failing to impress either. I also yearn for the days when drummers didn't use the double bass for whole songs, but rather to keep time with the muted guitar fills.

In short, Leeway's "Born to Expire" is an essential if you're a fan of NYHC or crossover, it's just that good.

Classic NYHC - 86%

nosetackle, March 31st, 2006

"Born to Expire" is the first and best album from NYHC stalwarts, Leeway. They combined the best elements of hardcore (shouted vocals, emphasis on speed, sincerity) with the crucial ingredients found in trash, mainly shredding solos and 5 minute long songs. These guys and the Crumbsuckers did the whole crossover thing the best during this era of 85-88, yet have been forgotten among the masses who still shit bricks about Agnostic Front and the Cro Mags. This is probably due to the fact that this Cd was last reissued with the second album "Desperate Measures" by Another Planet in 1994 and has yet to see the light of day since then. Many labels have been interested in putting it out again, but I have heard the asking price of whoever owns the rights to these albums is asking for some outrageous bullshit price. Typical.
What sets Leeway apart is the vocal delivery of Eddie Sutton, who actually tries to give some melody to his voice instead of just talking/'screaming the lyrics as most bands of this era did. Musically, this album is heavily influenced by Agnostic Front's "Cause For Alarm" lp, which came out one year before in 1986. Think simple metal riffs played fast with some nice, short trash solos inserted in. The drums are solid and fast, with the right amount of double bass where it is needed. The production is solid for the era and budget this band had, but don't expect a lot of polish on this thing.
Eddie does a good job of giving us some sincere and direct lines, such as the simple message of "Be Loud" (and at two minutes the most hardcore inspired track on the album). But sometimes it gets too simple and just downright stupid, as he continually shouts "SNITCHES!!!!" on "Mark of the Squealer". As to what kind of tattle tales hes complaining about, I'm at a loss to explain.
Overall, a classic piece of NYHC before the scene became all wigger and OD'ed on tough guy attitude. "Desperate Measures" is also worth a listen, but the last two albums are just bad rock efforts to be avoided.