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Leprous - The Congregation CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.95 | 585 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Norway's progressive metal quintet, Leprous, have been in the spotlight for a number of years now since their sophomore breakthrough, Tall Poppy Syndrome, and thanks to their ability to renew their sound with each album, without repeating the same formula over and over again, their popularity is still on the rise... a trend to continue with their new album also, The Congregation. And I will be pissing against the wind here by not calling it their best one to date, as so many fans do, nevertheless it is no question mark indeed that what they cooked up in their Norwegian proglab is again a decent addition to their discography already shining like a diamond. Even if this will be my least favourite album of theirs.

Tall poppy syndrome was one of my absolute favourite prog-metal records with its amazing, opera-like refrains and funky metal riffs. Then, when they followed up with Bilateral, taking their crunchy metal sound into a new direction by adding some quirky, trumpet-infested atmospheres, I was taken by surprise again. Finally, my fan-status was only strengthened when listening to their third album also, Coal, which is probably their heaviest one so far, pairing up some amazing vocals and even choruses with dirty-as-a-pig metal soundscapes, repeated through endless drones. Lucky for the fans of Coal, The congregation has these too: Einar Solberg's unparalleled voice stands out again, as all of the stronger songs (The price, Third law, The flood, Red) feature some amazing, vocal-driven but this time seriously funky metal refrains, backed up by growling riffage, all in all making it the grooviest music they have ever done. And whilst all these refrains do sweep me away, in between them the band is trying to introduce a new style not too much to my liking, which would probably be reminiscent to a heavily metalized version of the kind of disco-pop Bellamy is so much into lately. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, however at the same time many songs thorough the album (such as Triumphant, Slave or Within my fence) get superfluous, and I get bored. Something that has never happened to me during the listen of a Leprous album. Luckily, after a spiral of more mediocre songs (that follow the amazing opener of the first four songs) we get some pretty strong song structures again during the last part of the album (in particular with Moon), so I will not complain when looking at the big picture.

So although it is all true that The congregation features some of the finest songs the band has ever made, other tracks in my opinion fail to satisfy as they do not let these four musicians show their chops as much as the previous albums did (with Einar being the exception of course, with the whole album heavily relying on his soaring voice again, further backed up by the usual background vocals). Still, being blown away by the stronger songs of the album, as well as by the fact that they were able to renew their sound again whilst still building on their usual strengths, I will give this album a strong four-star-rating, and of course will highly recommend it not only to the fans of Leprous but to anyone, who is on the look-out for some fresh, mature and quirky metal with balls.

Porcupineapple | 3/5 |


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