LANDFALL – Elevate

LANDFALL - Elevate album cover
  • 9/10
    LANDFALL - Elevate - 9/10


Label: Frontiers Music
Release date: December 9, 2022

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Elevate is the new impressive sophomore release from Hard Rock band Landfall. Hailing from Curitiba, Brazil and spearheaded by some of the most prolific figures in the local Hard Rock and Metal scene, Elevate has some big shoes to fill. Their debut album, The Turning Point, was hailed by many in the Melodic Rock circles as one of the best releases of the genre in 2020.

Featuring songs that were clearly a step beyond what singer Gui Oliver (ex-AURAS, MAYANK) first achieved with his previous band, AURAS, their first album had many qualities, leaning heavier than the soft AOR of AURAS while keeping the quality in the melodies and hooks. The rest of the band – completed by Marcelo Gelbcke (who also produced Icon of Sin’s debut and their next record, as well as the upcoming Stormwarning debut) handling production and guitars, Thiago Forbeci on the bass, Felipe Souzza co-producing and on the drums – had a successful first chapter of their own with the Prog Metal act Wild Child.

Those expecting in Elevate more of the same we saw on The Turning Point will be surprised in a very positive way – the material on Elevate is everything you would expect, but executed on a higher level. While The Turning Point had banging tunes that rocked hard, most of it was on the softer side, exploring familiar territory for Gui on his AURAS past. Elevate on the other hand, is unapologetically heavy in most tracks.

The result is a sound that is closer to leading bands in the genre like Eclipse, One Desire and label mates Bloody Heels, but that also pays respect to the more mature side of the early 90s Hair Metal scene, frequently referencing bands of the era like Mr. BIG, Bon Jovi and Extreme, more often than the usual Melodic Rock suspects like Journey or Boston – though there’s enough of that in store, worry not!

The Landfall we know, elevated

Vocals are front and center in any Melodic Rock album, and Elevate is no different. Delivering an even better performance here than in previous efforts, Gui Oliver establishes himself as a force to be reckoned with in the genre. While in the past Gui may have pulled off well-rounded vocal deliveries, in a way they felt like one-off “by the seat of his pants” achievements.

His performances on Elevate on the other hand, show a new level of control and versatility that we not heard before from him, showing how accomplished a singer he has become after 4 full-length records with different acts. If on The Turning Point there were comparisons drawn between his voice and Journey’s Steve Perry, this time around with the added grit, attitude and confidence, one could say he sounds more in the territory of Mr. Big’s frontman Eric Martin.

Marcelo’s guitars are more adventurous and varied in Elevate, showing more variety in drawing from influences not only in Melodic Rock, but from his full vocabulary as a Rock musician and producer. His riffing and rhythm work are less formulaic this time around, providing a more challenging bed for Gui’s vocals to contrast against.

His solo work is worthy of a place in the hall of the greats of the genre. While influences are sometimes too clear – you can hear shades of John Petrucci, Paul Gilbert, Edu Ardanuy and other greats in his licks – his solos never fail to provide the perfect story the song needs next to the vocals.

Thiago’s bass and Felipe’s drums are spot on and provide the perfect foundation for the songs, keeping the energy levels at the right spot and pulling songs forward with ease. Felipe’s performance is even better this time around, filled with nice little details to catch the ear of the listener and break the patterns up, though in a few instances throughout the record it does become too much compared to what the song asks for.

Thiago does manage to conjure magic on the bass, sometimes fooling the listener to think Billy Sheehan may have lent his talents to this endeavour.

The production has overall a more natural and polished sound in comparison to the previous attempts, and is comparable to other Frontiers releases. The presence of synths to give the songs more body and atmosphere throughout the record is never overpowering, but does add to the listening enjoyment and the arrangements.

The mastering on the album is a tad aggressive, verging on clipping too hard some times, and leaves one wondering if not achieving maximum loudness and letting the songs breathe more wouldn’t have been a better choice for showcasing the source material.

LANDFALL - Elevate Promo

Elevate – Album breakdown

Album opener “Never Surrender” gets the listener started with a head banging, full octane track. Not only is the song heavy and fast paced, it has great vocal harmonies and a hook that kills in the chorus. The crowning achievement of this one-two punch of a number has to be the guitar solo section, which sets foot into Prog territory with its harmonic complexity and excellent performances. This shows Landfall won’t allow themselves to be contained and restricted by a single genre this time around and are ready to take the listener for a ride of all their musical and technical diversity.

The leading single of Elevate, “Two Strangers” falls more into the modern Melodic Rock clichés, but executes them to perfection, and to paraphase the lyrics, lifts them to a higher ground. It feels both familiar and new, which makes for the perfect single to get fans of the band and the genre in general acquainted with Landfall’s sophomore effort. Felipe’s performance on the drums in this track is exceptional, showing great creativity in the tom-based grooves that permeate the song.

“Waterfall” brings a familiar sound from the slower and softer tracks of Landfall’s first release and throws in a whole cup of modern Melodic Rock influence on top to create a track that rocks hard, but does bring a more melodic element into the fold. “Rescue me” carries on a similar vibe, though sticking closer to the MR. BIG formula and using less of the more modern elements present in the previous track.

Speaking of MR. BIG, “Heroes are Forever”, the most radio friendly track in Elevate was written in reverence and homage to the late Pat Thorpey, Mr. BIG’s drummer extraordinaire. Referencing some of his best drum grooves, Felipe’s drumming here is a full-blown tribute to Pat’s work, and carries the torch of his work forward. Marcelo does resist the temptation of going 500 notes per second in the solo, Paul Gilbert-style though, and adds a very tasteful melody on top of an already very catchy track.

The title track “Elevate” with its guitar harmonies and heavier attitude but AOR vibe shows Landfall in their evolved form. The track sounds very familiar to anyone well versed in the band’s earlier material, but brings their formula to a more complete and satisfying final product.

No Melodic Rock would be complete without some 80s nostalgia. “Feels Like Summer” could easily be on the Cobra Kai soundtrack and blasting off of Johnny Lawrence’s car stereo. The track might as well have been written for the Top Gun soundtrack as well, bringing that 80s radio rock vibe that songs like Kenny Loggins’ “Playing with the Boys”have. Among the fresher and more modern sounding tracks in Elevate, “Feels Like Summer” feels almost out of place, and would be right at home in their debut album that played more homage to the decades bygone.

If you long for more Gui-powered Journey-influenced AOR, “H.O.P.E” is your only, euhm, hope. “Shadows of Love” veers closer to classics from New Jersey’s golden boys, and “The Wind” is a Toto-esque ballad that is not your usual suspect in a Melodic Rock record. No heartfelt singing and cliché clean guitars are to be found here, but rather mature songwriting that once more would leave Jon proud.

In what is possibly the best track in Elevate shows what’s next for the band. “Chance to Destiny” might as well be on a Eclipse or One Desire record, proving that Landfall are fully capable of standing shoulder to shoulder with other giants of the genre. With a more modern take on the Melodic Rock sound that will appeal to audiences old and new, it wouldn’t be surprising if this song tops charts in the nordics.


Landfall surpasses all expectations on Elevate and delivers the seemingly impossible: an album that takes all the best parts of their debut release and takes it to a completely different level. The album showcases the band coming of age and defining themselves as something new and different from what came before in their musical careers and in the genres they draw influences from.

The album will be enjoyed by any fans of Hard Rock and Hair Metal, especially those who like more mature bands like Mr. Big, Bon Jovi, Journey and Extreme. It is an accomplished record with many qualities and little flaws. Recommended wholeheartedly for all ages.

Landfall – Elevate Tracklist

  1. Never Surrender
  2. Two Strangers
  3. Waterfall
  4. Rescue Me
  5. Heroes Are Forever
  6. Elevate
  7. Feels Like Summer
  8. H.O.P.E.
  9. Shadows Of Love
  10. The Wind
  11. Chance To Destiny


Gui Oliver – Vocals
Marcelo Gelbcke – Guitars
Thiago Forbeci – Bass
Felipe Souzza – Drums


  • Alex Reis

    Alex is a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, born and raised in Curitiba, PR, Brazil, yet living in Antwerp, Belgium, since 2010. AC/DC was his first intro to Rock and Metal, but Metallica and Iron Maiden were the turning point for his love of the genre. Alex has played the guitar since he was 14, and has been an aspiring musician ever since.  Also serving as lead guitarist and vocalist for Belgian/Brazilian Hard Rock outfit SSC, Alex and co. have released a single a few years ago, but are yet to follow with a full-length  release that's been 20 years in the works. When Alex is not writing for MER or making music, he works at the Belgian tech scene, having served as CTO and other technical roles in numerous startups and organizations.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.