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Leprous - Bilateral CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.95 | 555 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Leprous' second album saw the band take their cold, yet theatrical prog metal style established on Tall Poppy Syndrome to new heights, becoming far more experimental and eclectic while maintaining an extremely distinct style, this time around incorporating a lot more modern techniques into the mix, such as a lightly implemented djent element, which actually works quite nicely here. There are also more modern keyboard sounds being used throughout, immediately distinguishing its identity from Tall Poppy Syndrome, being considerably more technical and experimental in approach, with shorter bursts of music that form a collection of excellently formed ideas that are each of perfect length, barely entering overlong territory, but being able to sufficiently explore what it's going for.

The album begins sounding fairly similar to previous work, albeit a bit more modern in style, making heavy use of subtle, underlying distortion to create a futuristic atmosphere, but the music itself is very similar to previous work, theatrical, passionate and triumphant sounding, a series of excellent instrumental sections being thrown in, fairly standard prog metal all things considered, but executed in an absolutely excellent way. Just like the majority of people who give their opinions on this album, I also have to say that Forced Entry is definitely one of the best songs here, although there are a couple that I personally prefer. After an amazing, surprisingly heavy intro making good use of the light djent influence present at a couple of other points, the song opens up to become 10 minutes of incredible riffs upon a great balance between melody and energy. I love how the song manages to be perfectly balanced between this heavy, metal riffing and power with a multitude of softer sections that highlight the incredible production of the album, subtly throwing minor elements into the background to provide so much more depth to the music, not to mention the fact that on top of all this careful balance, there's still room for an amazing guitar solo that manages to stay fairly tasteful and not go off the rails into the territory of boredom. The couple of songs that I'm least keen on this album are those which display impressive technical abilities and feature lovely interwoven instrumentals, but simply don't do all too much of interest, especially Acquired Taste, although Restless doesn't do an amazing amount for me either, altohugh the chorus completely saves it from mediocrity.

This album is at its best when it's being more experimental for sure, making the tracks Thorn, Mb. Indifferentia and Mediocrity Wins the absolute standouts here. Thorn establishes a more out there element almost immediately with its horn-led intro, before breaking down into what at first sounds almost like an acoustic alternative rock track, simply with a nice, driving beat, but an overall mellow approach. Einar's vocals are particularly notable here, conveying a lot of emotion without the need for theatrics... adn tehn the song goes into theatrics. This is where I find it to become particularly incredible, as I just love the back and forth between the lead and backing vocals and the way the song manages to so gracefully shift between this drama and the more subdued verses. Emperor's Ihsahn also makes an appearance on this track, which is cool, but doesn't really contribute too much to the track, he definitely works better in the context of his own band or on Leprous' Contaminate Me, but in any case, it's still definitely neat to have an appearance by him here. There's considerably less to say about Mb. Indifferentia, it may be a beautifully crafted, fragile sounding ballad encompassing feelings of isolation even before the lyrics come in. The amount of emotion conveyed in the sparse soundscape the song builds is nothing short of breathtaking. Mediocrity Wins is not only my favourite song on this album, but one of my favourites by the band as a whole, starting off with some amazingly spacey guitar distortion before breaking into a chilling spoken word section that is absolutely perfect from an atmospheric standpoint. I love the slow build of the song that culminates in an amazingly smooth, groovy slap bass riff that brings the song to a whole new level. The way the song is structured around repeating these elements cyclically, each time adding something slightly new, such as a short guitar solo, but constantly becoming more intense is what makes this song as great as it is however, especially when what was once spoken becomes screamed, while the chorus is just a constant rise in power as it goes on, all of which contribute to the pure incredible nature of the song. While also a very different song to everything else on the album, Waste of Air is pretty much true to its title, just overall being by far the weakest song on the album. While incredibly agressive, I find the harsh vocals of Einar to be far more preferable in small doses, rather than making a lot of the song blastbeats and screams.

Overall, this is definitely a better album than Tall Poppy Syndrome in my opinion, taking on a more experimental, eclectic approach with more futuristic sounding songs. While not as cohesive as their debut, this is nonetheless an extremely engaging set of tracks that display excellent songwriting and technicality, being able to execute these ideas almost flawlessly in many cases. While it doesn't often reach incredible heights, I would still consider this to be an extremely worthwhile album to check out from an extremely worthwhile band, easily one of the best progressive metal bands on the scene.

Best songs: Forced Entry, Thorn, Mb. Indifferentia, Mediocrity Wins

Weakest songs: Waste of Air, Acquired Taste

Verdict: An eclectic album that while having a couple of weak spots, is mostly filled to the brim with creativity and the skills to back this up. A great album by one of my favourite progressive metal bands.

Kempokid | 4/5 |


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