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Leprous - Malina CD (album) cover

MALINA

Leprous

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.00 | 159 ratings

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Zitro
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The first [and hopefully not last] masterpiece from Leprous

Leprous with Malina have drastically changed their sound - they have introduced symphonic rock influences, added a violinist, and traded most of their heavy metal for either cinematic music and some mainstream rock & pop. The band fortunately retained and appeared to expand on their most distinct qualities, namely the complex syncopated rhythmic foundations, the soaring vocal melodies, and synthesizer usage. The colorful production paint vivid soundscapes and also bring accessibility to the compositions. In some ways, this album can be described as the non-metal twin of 'Bilateral', carrying variety, a sense of spontaneous fun with experimentation. What really elevates this album may be the emotion carried by the vocals and instrumentation during key moments.

The first song lays the foundation of the album and shows an increased emphasis on minimalistic ambient or jazzy passages with heaviness (not metal) placed at the right moments. 'Stuck' and 'From the Flame' are great compromises between the genres of pop and progressive rock - both have radio-worthy hooks of the highest caliber and in 4/4 but also include less traditional passages like the nintendo-like synthesizer + violin motif on 'Stuck' or the rhythmic complexity in 'From the Flame'.

Both 'Captive' and 'Illuminate' are based on complex staccato riffs with the former being hard-rock in nature and the latter more electronic and arguably compositionally superior and honestly quite addictive to put on repeat. Both carry strong vocal melodies, great usage of synthesizers, and moodier softer passages.

What is exciting is that despite these excellent songs, there is better to come. 'Leashes' unleashes exhilarating anthemic melodies. 'Mirage' is a multifaceted masterful progressive rock composition, replete with odd time signatures, synthesizer, contrasting half-time metal riffs in bass guitar, some amazing vocal performances, and a very heavy and fast-paced finale.

Even better is the title track 'Malina' - a hypnotic keyboard loop and restrained classical music instrumentation. This is very cinematic and stir heavy emotions from all its elements, matching the hopelessness of the lyrics. The explosion in emotion when the staccato guitars and drums enter the scene is soul crushing, yet the repetition of the main theme on the last minutes are equally moving. It is frankly put, one of the best depictions of depression put to music I have heard. 'The Last Milestone' comes close to this level, limiting the music to just a string ensemble and opera-like vocal acrobatics with a deeply melancholic tone, adding another excellent depiction of depression in music.

Other unmentioned tracks include the neurotic fast-paced syncopated rhythms of 'Coma' and the heavier, bass-driven epic 'Weight of Disaster' that has a sound closer to the previous album..

4.5 to 5 star songs: *Illuminations*,*Leashes*,*Mirage*,*Malina*,*The Last Milestone*, Bonneville, Stuck, From the Flame, Captive 4 star songs: Coma, The Weight of Disaster 3.5 and below star songs: None

Zitro | 5/5 |

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