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Leprous - Bilateral CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.89 | 435 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars State of the Prog Metal Status Quo in 2011

First, the cover. Topless she-demon swimming in a pitcher of lemonade torturing a half- naked, leather clad victim riding an anteater??? The mushroom forest in the background might give a clue about where the inspiration for this strange doodle-scene came from, but what does this have to do with the music at all? Similar to the band's name, previous cover, and album names, this head scratcher art points to a band that really hasn't quite found their identity. There are some extremely promising bits and pieces but it just doesn't gel yet. One might think that this was a psychedelic metal outfit, or something truly experimental. Instead, we get a very solid bit of the various takes on prog metal thrown into the stewpot and tastily cooked. A satisfying dish, but very familiar ingredients that don't leave any specific impression.

I do like this album better than the debut TALL POPPY SYNDROME. The band takes more chances, adds more texture, and integrates some ideas they didn't use before. The best song, to this listener, is the epic "Forced Entry," which has Riverside-like intense dark melancholy, down-tuned riffing, and a nice emotional contour that rises and falls without every wearing out its welcome. "Thorn" features a vocal by Ihsahn, which actually highlights the weakness of Solberg's harsh vocals. The heavy sections of this song are delightfully nasty, almost as if the black metal patriarch had made some songwriting suggestions. The black influence also is evident on "Waste of Air" and its tremolo picked intro theme, and rasp-voice.

Overall, Leprous is probably most akin to fellow prog metal wunderkind Haken. Where Haken still has some flavors of Dream Theater, Leprous borrows from more extreme prog like Enslaved, and juxtaposers like Shaolin Death Squad. But both have over-emoted clean vocals as their focal point, ultra-modern production and instrumental tones, and a lack of true originality.

This is another of those 3.5 star albums that will be rounded down. There are some really great passages on this disc, and there are some simply boring stretches. Solid stuff but probably nothing I'll be reaching for in 3 years.

Negoba | 3/5 |


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