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Leprous - Bilateral CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.95 | 555 ratings

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4 stars Remarkably appetizing progressive metal.

As nothing more than an occasional dabbler in the metal part of the prog spectrum, Bilateral is a tantalizing mix of all things great about it, while avoiding the (for me) less digestible bits. A clever concoction of atmospheric and emotional Riverside-ian soundscapes, dry, speedy and precise tech riffing, outstanding gritty and sticky heaviness and a clear, but never overwhelming or excessive melodiousness, this is an eclectic and elegant sampler of many of the sounds the genre has to offer. Without other comparisons intended, I even hear touches of the animated, jittery energy of post-hardcore now and then. Vocally, it's quite a diverse effort as well. Ranging from soothing and clear beauty to harsh screaming and near-growl territory, often in rich, emotive and layered arrangements, there's something for everyone here.

But Leprous are more than just adroit combiners of styles. The song-writing is top-notch, fusing these parts into complete pieces of music that never feel contrived or forced. As such, disparate influences seep into each other both admirably and seamlessly making the end result feel fresh and rather creative when all things are said and done. Moody, urban "emo-psych" synthesizer atmospheres, classic organ sounds and inventive, modern electronics of more alternative rock and metal gladly and successfully intertwine with disciplined and aggressive guitar textures and brutish, sluggish riffs. When presented with a fair bit of symphonic sensibility, an emphasis on texture, gifted use of hooks and a peevish unpredictability both in song-writing and in sound detail (why not some jazzy trumpet here and some funky bass there?), you end with a crisp and tight yet bombastic grandeur that I find myself strangely and surprisingly enamoured by.

Dynamics are outstanding and both individual songs and the album ebbs and flows musically and emotionally. It's a vivacious and soaring journey through Porcupine-ish atmospheric melancholy all the way to blistering double bass drum onslaught. From the tender and melodic to the dirty and brutal. And as so often when these kind of fusions are presented to me as a listener, it's the way it melts away boundaries and makes it all feel natural that really seals the deal. You could certainly argue that most of what is done on Bilateral has been done before and in purer form and that the band is simply playing it safe in a prog metal no-one's land, but that is doing yourself a disservice. If you like me stand ambivalent to both the more traditional prog metal as well as the more extreme expressions of the genre, this is exquisite stuff. And that's just the icing on the cake to be honest. Bilateral is a great album on its own. And that's what truly matters.

Not really what I usually fall for, but Leprous are, apparently, doing things right.

Quality and craft.

4 stars.


LinusW | 4/5 |


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