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Leprous Bilateral album cover
3.97 | 563 ratings | 27 reviews | 42% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Bilateral (4:00)
2. Forced Entry (10:20)
3. Restless (3:30)
4. Thorn (5:47)
5. Mb. Indifferentia (6:33)
6. Waste of Air (5:32)
7. Mediocrity Wins (6:07)
8. Cryptogenic Desires (2:45)
9. Acquired Taste (5:13)
10. Painful Detour (8:18)

Total Time: 58:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Einar Solberg / vocals, keyboards
- Tor Oddmund Suhrke / guitar
- ěystein Skonseng Landsverk / guitar
- Rein Blomquist / bass
- Tobias ěrnes Andersen / drums

- Ihsahn / vocals (4)
- Vegard Sandbukt / trumpet (4,10)

Releases information

Artwork: Jeff Jordan

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 345 (2011, Europe)

2xLP Blood Music ‎- BLOOD-070 (2014, Finland)
2xLP + CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMLP 345 (2017, Europe) Full album on both media

Thanks to AstralliS for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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LEPROUS Bilateral ratings distribution

(563 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(42%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

LEPROUS Bilateral reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A fantastic metal album that has really grown on me!

Some of my readers may have realized that my attitude towards metal in general is a bit skeptic, since it is not a genre I dominate, nor really love. However, there are some bands and albums that really do something to me after some listens, and when that happens, believe me, I am more than happy. This sensation has returned with this album, so Leprous should be proud because before officially releasing their new album, they have already fans of it. Important to clarify that I've received it from Inside Out as a digital promo, that is why I already listened to it.

Leprous was actually an unknown name to me, my knowledge is actually pretty limited, I know they are from Norway and that have been together for more than six years. Also, that with the release of "Bilateral" they are reaching their third studio album, which I am sure, will be a complete success amongst metal and prog-metal fans. This album features ten songs which together make a total time of 58 minutes.

The first track is "Bilateral", a four-minute title-track which seems to start aggressive but actually offers a gradual progress. The voice is excellent, the potential and strength that the music suggests caught my attention since the first moments. Also, I like a lot the bass sound (all over the album) and the wonderful use of keyboards. This is a great opening theme.

"Forced Entry" is the longest song, reaching more than ten minutes length. It is an awesome track, full of colors, textures and emotions, also full of time and tempo changes that take you to different scenarios, without losing interest in any moment. The band here shows a deep creativity, so their compositional skills are clearly first-class, evidently. Both, the completely instrumental and the voice-led passages are great, one can truly enjoy and appreciate what the music offers, no matter if you are familiar and like metal or not.

"Restless" is a shorter track that starts slowly with nice guitars and vocals, and after a minute explodes giving a powerful sound, an angry scream accompanied by technical and skillful guitars. Despite it is a short song, the complexity shown here is evident, and wonderful. "Thorn" has a great drums sound, constant and always in the right moment. Complexity and technique does not really mean lack of feeling, and here you can prove it. A couple of aspects worth mentioning: one is that I am surprised with my tolerance regarding death or growling vocals, which I normally repel, here they appear in moments, but I like it; and the second is the brief (but rich) use of trumpet, which makes a pretty cool combination with the metal style.

Now, I've terribly fallen in love with "Mb. Indifferentia", a six-minute track that shows a different face of Leprous, at least for the first minutes. I love how the song is gradually progressing, adding different elements and creating wonderful atmospheres. All the instruments seems to be working for themselves, but at the same time all work for all, great bass lines, a soft guitar sound and constant drums, along with a delicate piano and wonderful vocals. After three minutes acoustic guitar appears and produces a different ambient; seconds later there is a moment I totally love, with only the drumsticks and a cool guitar that put me the image of a fresh place with water running. Now, the tranquility all of a sudden disappears and an explosive voice enters accompanied by an emotional and heavier sound. Honestly, this may be my most played song for the last two weeks. Amazing!

With "Waste of Air" the band returns to their powerful, fast and technical sound. It can be listened since the very first drums note and of course in the running of the track itself. I am still surprised with myself, because I really tolerate the death vocals, which are more evident here. The keyboard sound is hypnotizing, and the aggressiveness implemented here will surely make you move your head. Here a detail, the bass sound reminded me of Magma, curious, and I don't really know if Leprous know those French proggrers, but I had to say it.

"Mediocrity Wins" has a softer sound, with nice synth effects as background, cool bass slaps and a different (and not my favorite) vocal style at first. After two minutes the normal voice returns and with his emotional tune produces different sensations. It is great to appreciate how in just a few minutes the band manage to morph in several occasions and how they put a vast amount of elements in their music.

"Cryptogenic Desires" is the shortest composition here. The keyboards remind me a bit of Riverside, and the music in general can be linked to acts such as Opeth or Enslaved. This is a nice powerful short song. "Acquired Taste" starts with piano, drums and vocals, later bass and guitars join and together start building up an interesting structure that little by little progresses until reaching a climax. Once again, the vocal work is outstanding.

And finally "Painful Detour" gives us eight last minutes of this excellent album. Fast drums and guitars complemented with the lead guitar, opening the gates to the powerful voice and the other instruments. It is great to see the song's inner (and several) changes without breaking the structure, I mean, you can listen to several mini-songs and enjoying each one of them, but at the same time linking them in order to create that body, that full-length track. This is an excellent track that finishes an excellent album.

I am still surprised with the effect that Bilateral caused on me, and I love it. This will surely be an album easy-to-love by progressive metal fans. My final grade will be 5 stars.

Enjoy it!

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Bilateral' - Leprous (9/10)

2009 saw the Norwegian band Leprous enjoyed some underground success with 'Tall Poppy Syndrome', an album that impressed me somewhat, but rose to the tops of many prog metalheads' year-end lists. Suffice to say, I was not able to fully jump on the hype bandwagon for Leprous back then, seeing their music as maybe a little cheesy and being proggy for prog's sake. Nonetheless, I was made very aware of the band's immense potential from that album, and I figured that it would only be a matter of time before these Norwegians released something that would blow me away. Sure enough, come 2011 they finally have made an album that places them among the frontrunners of the new wave of progressive metal.

'Bilateral' may be something of a tough pill to swallow for those that most enjoyed 'Tall Poppy Syndrome', but for me, Leprous seems to have addressed all of the problems I had with them before, while retaining their good qualities. The most evident development for them has been largely in terms of ambition; what they are willing to do with their sound. There have been some steps taken toward a more sporadic style. The songwriting is more packed with ideas, some of them quite experimental and unexpected, although the memorable melodic component of Leprous is not toned down at all. 'Bilateral' is quite a bit to take in all at once, and I am finding that it is very much a 'grower' album; the constant flow of ideas can make it a little disorienting at first, and while the flow between these ideas can sometimes be a tad off-putting, the sheer excellence of the melodies and newfound weirdness makes Leprous all the more interesting of a listen.

As one might judge even by the surreal album cover (whose artist is also known for composing some of The Mars Volta's artwork), Leprous is not afraid to try new things. The title track contrasts remarkably layered vocal hooks with a mellow section of deep electronics. 'Painful Detour' is a slower, powerful song that gives the 'epic' impression of Muse as it hits its climax. 'Thorn' even shows the band's friend Ihsahn (from classic black metal act Emperor) doing a quick vocal cameo before letting a trumpet solo pop up for a moment. All of these things come as a huge surprise at first. While I would say at this point that Leprous has found their own sound with this album, they do remind me of a younger Pain of Salvation here, in the sense that they are a prog metal band that is focusing more on emotional impact and surprises rather than the sort of power-metal derivative that many newer prog metal bands go for. The Pain of Salvation comparison hits its peak with the vocal technique of Einar Solberg, whose diverse vocal register and complex ad-libbing accents his performance in a way that really reminds me of Dan Gildenlow.

'Bilateral' shows that even if the melodic side of prog metal has withered in recent years, there are still ways of making it sound progressive without falling into all of the prog pitfalls. Leprous still isn't completely fargone from the genre, but they have taken some adventurous steps here that really see my respect for them as a band skyrocket. 'Bilateral' is one of the few masterpieces of progressive metal that I have thus heard in 2011, and being very much of a 'grower' album, I can only see it holding its ground as the year grinds on.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A dynamic complex album with stunning song structures and musicianship. Leprous are new to me so I had no idea how this would sound. I liked it from the start to end. Some of the playing on this is stunning musicianship and the vocals in particular are dynamic. Each musician has a chance to really shine and it is innovative how the songs change time signatures without warning and keep the listener on the edge. The ever present metal riffing guitars pervade the album and there are moments of true ambient beauty. Here are the tracks as I heard them which should explain what to expect.

1. Bilateral - The album begins with a very strong fast beat, great layered vocals from Einar Solberg and melodic metal with powerful riffs. Nice clean vocals sound a bit like Muse and the song really jumps along driven by classic guitar riffs. One growl at the end signifies that there will be some of that too.

2. Forced Entry - Sheer bliss, with a weird time sig and effect with the guitars, blazing away. The feeling of a 70s psych prog band at first, Solberg's clean vocals are wonderfully executed. There are strange fast electronic pulsations under the veerse that slow out of sync, and then a strong steady beat for the melodic chorus reminding me of fates warning or Symphony X a bit. A nice high falsetto in the next section, incredible harmonies are strikingly similar to perhaps Pain of Salvation and then a death metal growl just to punctuate the dark atmosphere. The odd time sig on distorted guitar to follow is amazing, it is totally off kilter but is consistently so and works against the other instruments. The work of bassist Blomquist and drummer Andersen is a key feature. The Meshuggah rhythms stop and a spacey ethereal sound follows on harmonic guitar. Like the next part, "you will need me tonight," so what is this song about? "Take your time, I will give, I will give you mine, give me signs that I need to grow, rest in peace, let me connect to my shawl to your heart," really love the track, it is a mini epic that grinds along, "I fought my way," screams the vocals, and a divine lead break sliding up and down the scales augments the virtuoso musicianship. Great riffs follow from guitarists Tor Oddmund Suhrke and ├?ystein Landsverk that are very chopped and fractured. The next part is like Riverside's ambience with threatening metal breaking through, and the vocals are estranged and filtered, "take my crime, see the sense of time". It gets extreme towards the end with very heavy guitars and a wall of sound made up of layered guitars and screeching vocals sung with incredible force. Highlight of the album and one you should check out.

3. Restless - This begins with a strange polyphonic rhythm and lots of nice harmonies. The vocals are really great, "render a purpose to be at peace, find out who you want to be". After this the track gets heavy with death growls and clean vocals trading off. It is never overdone though and the death growls are kind of part of the experience. I normally hate death growls but here the band only use them to show aggression every now and then, and it is never too much for the ears. The vocals are very well accomplished with a lot of mixing, layering voices over and merging together to create quite a strong presence.

4. Thorn - A horn that sounds like an Indian temple call blares out. Then a steady beat and guitar swells take over as the verses begin, about a beast, "eating his way from inside". The slow doomy feel is punctuated by the horn effects. The chorus is an infectious melody, I try to get to sleep but nothing gets me by, the thorn inside pushing me to lie, regret the future, regret the future today." The time sig changes and there is a quirky lead break from Landsverk and Suhrke. There are some very interesting riffs that stop and start and at times a chaotic time sig takes over. The instrumental break is an excellent blend of guitar, and synth. After some chilling vocals, a trumpet plays, then an extreme metal section with a death metal feel. It breaks and then an odd time sig plays out the rest of the song.

5. Mb. Indifferentia - This begins with weird synth notes and then an organ sound, like the 70s chimes in. Solberg's serene vocals take over with true beauty and some inspired high falsetto work. The guitars of Landsverk and Suhrke are peaceful, and the ambient atmosphere is augmented by the sweet lead guitar tones. Blonmquist's bass work is exemplary, and I love the way he keeps a rhythm while the guitars play a different melody. The spacey psychedelic feel is noteworthy too. This one reminds me of Riverside, and it even builds to a heavier feel towards the end, especially when Solberg screams, "do nothing at all!"

6. Waste Of Air - The heaviest track at first absolutely hammers along with extreme speed metal blasts and manic double kick drumming. It settles into a strong beat and death metal vocals that are overlaid with high and low growls together. A strange passage of synth and guitar chugging along follows. The spacey synth swirls are awesome against the machine gun riffing, sounding more industrial than the rest of the album is way heavier. This continues with a hypnotic repeated motif over a fast beat. Psychedelic style vocals break over and some dark low choral voice beneath. It builds to a heavier feel and a quirky melody. More death growls lurk around the next bend and the song even speeds up in rhythm with Slayeresque speed picking. The growls get more aggressive and though I am not a fan this is so diverse than the rest of the album it is startling.

7. Mediocrity Wins - While I am just getting over the hammer smashed onslaught of the last track, this one begins with electronica and sparkling synths generating ambience. Then a wall of sound of synths come in with some unusual overlaid spoken chants in rap style droning on one note. The rhythm is moderate with the electronic effects constant and some vocal intonations. The verses eventually begin with Muse like vocalisations hitting high notes and forced phrases. A distorted riff locks in with cryptic time sig meter, and then more aggressive growling chants begin. I am reminded of Tool for some of this or a darkwave style; "Sing the song with my own voice, take your place, mediocrity wins."

8. Cryptogenic Desires - The tight machine gun riffing begins and then short blasts of speed palm mute picking. The verses are quickly sung in rhythm with the guitars. It builds with aggressive screeches and then breaks into a quirky passage with chopping guitars and blastbeats of drum and bass at intervals.

9. Acquired Taste - A title that may explain the album, begins with piano and crystal clear breathy vocals from Solberg; "Enjoy the restrictions, be glad you can feel the sting, silent compassion won't lead to anything". The next part builds with consistent twanging guitars up the scale and Solberg very passionate on vocals that cry out from the soul. The next part is more like King Crimson's Fripp with fractured time sig; and stark melancholy vocals "stay in the cold you will see someone else will leave your mark, to be sold so you're free". One of the key features is the vocals that have an amazing range from low to the highest register. The lead break is terrific that follows, very emotive and soaring. It breaks to allow a piano to play a simple melody and end it.

10. Painful Detour - The last track features more odd time sig distorted riffing. The track clocks over 8 minutes and has a myriad of detours and twists and turns. The vocals are the same as last track, clean to high falsetto in choruses; "Time elapsing, storm running out, ready to doubt, hide from the open turning to stone." After the loud raucous chorus there is a break in the meter and the track shifts into beautiful passages of ambient passionate vocalisations. The guitars compete in battle with the ambience and a soundwave of off kilter drum patterns over a steady melody is a dissonant attack on the structure. It breaks into a rock steady beat and some delightful organ embellishments. The twin guitar playing over the synth is a highlight demonstrating the tension and release in Leprous' style.

To conclude this is an excellent album with some incredible musicianship. The inventiveness of the song structures and diverse approach to the music is refreshing. I can recommend this to those who like a heavier style of prog with loads of innovation and experimental nuances embedded within. It delivers on many levels, with complex, speed metal, dextrous guitar playing, and well executed vocals throughout.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After being blown away by their debut 'Tall Poppy Syndrome', this was a much anticipated album for 2011. And I must say that I'm not disappointed. Leprous built further on their songwriting and playing strengths, and also dropped their extreme vocals almost entirely, which I find a wise choice in their case.

Leprous are probably the most exciting thing in prog metal since a long long time. I may prefer Riverside but Leprous dares to cover more ground, with keyboards that avoid traditional neo and prog metal cliches in favor of a more modern approach. The keyboards are maybe comparable to Porcupine Tree's Barbieri, who also favors texture and original sounds above the usual twiedeliwiedelie keyboard runs. So far with the Porcupine Tree references, as the guitars, drums and vocals are far more metal and more prog then Porcupine Tree. The sound is fuller, heavier and more metallic, and vocalist Solberg just has the perfect voice. Could I compare him to a cross of Daniel Gildenglow with that guy from Haken? Something along those lines maybe.

The masterpiece of the album is the 10 minute 'Forced Entry', one of the few tracks to feature prominent screaming during the finale. But its built up so strongly that even the most sever clean-vocals purist should admit how this makes sense here. The remainder of the tracks are shorter but always keep an element of surprising, twisting known song formats inside out and spicing everything up with everything that can be expected from prog metal, such as haphazard time-signatures, scenic songwriting and over-the-top theatricality.

Leprous is a unique band that succeeds in marrying the attractions of classic prog metal with a fresh approach that is aggressive and modern, avoiding both the cliches and the cheese, and remaining entirely fascinating throughout the entire album. I'm pretty sure this is one of the best Prog Metal albums of recent years. 4.5 with an option to rise higher over time.

Review by SoundsofSeasons
3 stars Updated review - 2017

I was quite excited with this album when i first purchased it on release, at that time it had been one of the first albums i'd ever pre-ordered. The sophomore release, Tall Poppy Syndrome, was a great album that had introduced me to the band thanks to this website. A short time after discovering the band, this album was soon to be released and my expectations were set high. Much too high. At the time, i believed that this album had met for the most part met those expectations, but that was quite a long time ago. I've listened to this album every now and again since then and recently I've given it a real consideration on just how good it really is. At the time i found the album revolutionary, albeit a bit weird and inaccessible. I suppose i wanted to like it even without its' flaws and quirks. Considering how quirky progressive rock can be is this a bad thing? Turns out it is. And some of the choices made for experimentation just weren't implemented well. One of my biggest issues is due to some of the dance-beat like drumming, which just doesn't work and doesn't impress me much. Also, the overall sound with the band is weak and thin. Really, i think is the least accessible album in their discography thus far. My current issue with this album now is that it is only a sum of its' parts, and i don't mean that as a compliment. Most of the songs just aren't that memorable standing on their own. As a cohesive unit this album holds together well, but run-time as a whole could have been trimmed down. They aren't long songs though? Well i guess its' just too much of not so great songs. There are glimpses of what was to come here, but tempos don't change all too much from song to song and again reviewing this album years later i just doesn't compare to post 'Coal' Leprous.

On the year this album was released it was an important artistic contribution to experimental prog metal, as well as a chance for the band to step out and try something different. What ultimately came of it, in hindsight, is a little hard to swallow and i find myself enjoying it less now that the novelty of it all has worn off.

As an aside, i find it funny that most of the other reviewers on this site when i first reviewed the album, which was on release, said that the album was a 'grower', but i myself found that over the years I've actually found it less and less likable.

I find this album toward the bottom of Leprous resume of album releases so far, and although i'm probably being overly critical, i can honestly say i have no desire to continue to listen to this album now that i've seen what Leprous can really do with the new bassist, drummer, and matured sound that came after this albums' release.

3.5 Stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Probably the most accessible and melodic example of 'tech-extreme metal' (if in fact this album can still be categorized as such) I've heard since NEGURA BUNGET's 2006 masterpiece, "Om." The songs are theatric--at times stage-like--and the lyrics quite comprehensible (with out crib sheet) and sung at a pace more akin to QUEEN or A PERFECT CIRCLE, instead of the frenetic psycho-pace of UNEXPECT. I am enjoying this album ten times more than Tall Poppy Syndrome--though I appreciated the skill and freshness of the latter. I still feel the fresh and unusual approach to song delivery of this band--and the skill of the performers-- especially Einar's vocals. A strong four stars--perhaps even in line for some recognition for Top 10 of 2011 status.
Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 8/10

Thanks to "Bilateral", Leprous is now one of the most original, creative, and artistic metal bands out there.

"Tall Poppy Syndrome" was considered one of the best albums of 2009, and fans were expecting something maybe not as emotional and overall able to surpass it. I wasn't exactly in love with the sophomore LP, but there were moments in it that completely amazed me. But it is with "Bilateral", their third album, that I fell in love with Leprous.

"Tall Poppy Syndrome" was a pretty mature album, that showed the talent of the band and gave them a pretty distinct style. With "Bilateral", they reach a new level: they are now one of the most innovating, creative, and artistic metal bands out there. More experimentation, more synths that accompany the music, an Einar Soldberg that has never sounded so powerful and emotional ( some times he actually sounds a bit like Jonathan Davis), more complex rhythms, which often include several time changes. Overall there's a much wilder and visceral feel, and the progressive elements are very highlighted, not only in the keyboards, but also in the structure of the songs, despite being generally shorter; they're much more dense with music than "Tall Poppy Syndrome" and they never seem like they are running out of ideas, while in the previous album it felt like so in a few points, just for the sake of making the song longer.

If there is one thing that Leprous stands out for, that is songwriting: there are so many unbelievably well done hooks in here, and always they are strengthened by Einar's voice, that I can't stop praising. The album is extremely solid, and contains a lot of variety as well: there are powerful songs with some quirky arrangements, softer, utterly emotional ones, more jazz influenced tracks, and so on. It is a great collection of prog metal gems, each one in its one way. The ten minutes of "Forced Entry" is the magnum opus of the band, amazingly structured and containing an unbelievable, breathtaking vocal performance. The opening title track is another great moment, a perfect introduction for the album, a sort of prologue to all the things that will soon be heard. The three songs in the middle of the album, the incredible climax of "Mb. Indifferentia", the aggressive yet very provocative "Waste Of Air", and the building tension of "Mediocrity Wins" make an amazingly solid trilogy together. "Cryptogenic Desires" a paranoid but fun short track, the final two songs are both overall calm and don't have much of a climax, but once again have a great emotive force, especially the finale, the eight minute "Painful Detour".

"Bilateral" takes prog metal and bends it with originality, creativity, and amazing musicianship. An album that basically redefines the genre as we know it, and would possibly become a classic for the years to come.

Review by J-Man
4 stars Leprous' unique brand of extreme progressive metal took listeners by storm with 2009's Tall Poppy Syndrome, and Bilateral proves that these Norwegian lads are far from slowing down. On their third album, Leprous expands even further upon the foundation set by their first two releases, resulting in an album that is both entirely unique and still distinctly their own. Bilateral is a mature, innovative, and simply breathtaking tour de force of modern progressive metal; this is the sort of album that is bound to amaze any open minded fan of progressive metal. Bilateral took quite a few listens to 'click' with me, but its genius songwriting and ambitious attitude does eventually shine through in a brilliant way. Anyone who thinks that modern progressive metal only consists of copycats and clones better take a listen to Leprous - these guys have the goods!

While Leprous is best described as progressive metal (which is, admittedly, the best tag I can come up with too), you'll find much more than you may have bargained for on Bilateral. Throughout the album, I hear touches of symphonic progressive rock, technical metal, avant-garde metal in the vein of Mr. Bungle, quirky prog rock a la Gentle Giant, Faith No More-inspired funky metal, and even various styles of jazz. This is an eclectic and one-of-a-kind album for sure, and the first thing that springs to mind when discussing Bilateral is probably the early works of Swedish prog metal act Pain of Salvation - while Leprous is certainly more wacky and unpredictable than Daniel Gildenl÷w's brainchild, their influence does shine in the vocal harmonies and sheer eclecticism of this release. Bilateral is also rather dependent on (somewhat) short and compact compositions, rather than long and drawn-out epics. Each of the songs moves extremely fast, so it can definitely take a few listens before Bilateral's genius begins to unravel. Once it does, though, it's hard for me to think of this as anything but an absolutely stunning observation. Factor in the top-notch musicianship and crystal-clear production, and it looks like we have a winner across the board!

Bilateral is a very different album from Tall Poppy Syndrome, but I'm sure it will have just as much (if not more) of an impact on prog metal fans worldwide. One look at various review sites across the web, and it appears that my prediction is pretty accurate. Leprous have crafted a great album on nearly every front with Bilateral, and even though it does feel a bit disjointed from time to time, this is one of 2011's highlights if you're interested in unique and modern progressive metal. 4 stars and a very high recommendation are deserved.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Oh boy. I decided to check out this album since it was so highly rated and is already in some people's best of 2011 lists. I really wish I didn't. Leprous are a metal band from Norway. Notice I did not use the terms 'prog' or 'tech/extreme' in that sentence. This would be a great album if it was released in 1992. This music is hardly what I would consider 'prog.' It's not very technical and it sure as hell is not extreme...extremely melodic maybe? A lot of this album reminds me of both hair metal and Dream Theater (who themselves remind me of hair metal at times). There are parts of Bilateral which make me think of Motley Crue and Winger. I'm not even slightly joking. The first song reminded me of Dragonforce! There is really nothing new going on here that wasn't being done in metal 15 years ago. There is a song here called "Mediocrity Wins" and that just about sums up this album for me.

A Muse influence is present. The singer (and also keyboardist) sometimes sounds like Matthew Bellamy and sometimes does some wimpy death growls. "Forced Entry" is over 10 minutes long but is very accessible and doesn't require such a length. I actually like the song "Restless"...but it ain't prog. Very Muse infuenced with disco style drumming during the chorus (and what would prog be without disco beats and choruses?). The sax in "Thorn" was the first thing to catch my attention the first time I heard Bilateral, but it's still just an average metal song. I like the sound of the electric piano in "Mb. Indifferentia" but the song itself is just a mediocre ballad; not very metal or proggy.

"Waste Of Air" is the only track here that really grabbed me at first. If the whole album was on the level of this song I might have a higher opinion of it. Good inventive guitar playing in the middle. The most technical, extreme and proggy song here. The vocals during the verses of "Mediocrity Wins" sound quasi-rapped over Mellotron-like sounds. Some slap bass here. Gets more Muse sounding later. Bilateral is for prog fans who don't really like prog. Y'know, the kind that like their prog proggy but not too proggy, thank you. Are all the people who gave this album 5 stars still going to think this is a "masterpiece of progressive rock" in 10 years? I wonder if they were confused and thought they were posting a review on MMA instead? There is a lot of great forward-thinking modern prog out there (some of it free download!) but many will ignore that stuff and praise cliche metal such as this. I'm wondering if the new definition of prog is: 'Not consistently heavy enough for metal; too complex for indie.'

The only thing this has going for it is the really great album cover artwork. This has probably the best album cover I have seen for a 2011 release (although I certainly have not seen every album cover for every release this year). And maaaaaan, that artwork does not fit the music at all. This is recommended to those who want to play it safe. If you want great original modern prog music, look elsewhere. 2 stars. Fans only.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars The most common comment about this album seem to be that it's a grower. And I have to agree with that statement as I didn't even like it after one listen. Well after about 7 listens I do appreciate it a lot more but I still don't like the vocals, and instrumentally i'm far from being impressed. I'm in the minority though as many seem to be blown away by this latest release from this Norwegian Metal band.

"Bilateral" has this epic intro then it settles in with vocals. Not a fan of the multi-sounding vocals here and elsewhere. The song kicks in and out throughout. "Forced Entry" has an interesting intro then it settles with vocals. Riffs and higher pitched vocals follow. Some nice drumwork 2 1/2 minutes in. Reserved vocals a minute later then it kicks in at 4 1/2 minutes as themes are repeated. "Restless" has this beat as vocal melodies join in then vocals. It kicks in at a minute. Multi-vocals later. "Thorn" has a strange sounding intro then a beat with keys takes over. Vocals follow. It's fuller after 1 1/2 minutes. Somewhat growly vocals from guest Ihsahn after 3 minutes then guest trumpet.

"MB Indifferentia" is a laid back tune with reserved vocals. It turns more passionate late. "Waste Of Air" kicks in right away with double bass drumming then rough vocals. Great sound after 2 minutes when the vocals stop. They're back 3 1/2 minutes in. "Mediocrity Wins" is very proggy because it seems to have it all even a rap-like section. "Cryptogenic Desires" is catchy with a beat and almost spoken vocals, then it kicks in as contrasts continue. "Acquired Taste" opens with piano and desperate sounding vocals as it builds. It continues to shift though. I like the instrumental ending. "Painful Detour" is by far my favourite track. I really enjoy this and can't help but think of how good a whole album like this would be.

A good album but it just doesn't do a lot for my tastes.

Review by Negoba
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.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.


Review by Warthur
3 stars Bilateral by Leprous finds the band diversifying their sound, presenting an album which runs the full range of progressive metal from almost-commercial to downright esoteric. With its eclectic stylings revealing the band's truly encyclopedic command of metal styles from Dream Theater to Mr Bungle, it's an excellent showcase for the technical abilities of the group, but equally the compositions seem to have a depth to them that suggests they are more than mere pedestals to showcase some guitar riffing or keyboard solos the band are particularly proud of. Incorporating all of these influences into one album is a challenge in itself; making them all feel like they naturally belong there is a masterstroke which Leprous are able to manage, but unfortunately not quite consistently enough to put Bilateral in the top tier of their releases.
Review by Zitro
4 stars Varied Entertaining Metal Album but Beware of Harsh Vocals

Bilateral can be described as very technical instrumentation with complex rhythms yet balanced out by memorable vocal melodies from their excellent vocalist. The musical influences are more noticeable compared to later releases, reminding listeners of various progressive metal bands at times, yet managing to have an identity of its own. Bilateral is experimental, very unpredictable, and surprisingly well-structured. The songs have a personality of their own and are thus very easy to tell apart, with clearly distinct musical components and recognizable vocal melodies. It caught me by surprise however that harsh vocals (growls) are scattered throughout the album and are generally not very pleasing to the ear. Given that the singer is capable of singing during heavy sections with a rougher voice, I do not think these harsh vocals are necessary at all and lessens the impact of the album for I predict many listeners.

The title track is a great introduction. Upbeat hard rock with very catchy vocal melodies and shifting time signatures. It has an excellent instrumental break led by synthesizers and syncopated guitar riffs. The dynamic 10-minute 'Forced Entry' is a highlight of the album. It begins with a strange synthesizer riff backed by heavy metal, then introduces four distinct vocal themes in just about 1 minute. The song continues introducing new themes and recalling earlier musical passages without losing its coherence and has a fitting epic finale.

'Restless' has a jazzy foundation and is overall a more accessible brief composition with recognizable vocal themes meant to be earworms. The aforementioned growls of Restless are out of place (the music is simply not heavy enough to need them) and sound a bit comical to me. The growls become most noticeable in 'Thorn' and 'Waste of Air', which is a shame as both have very unique instrumental ideas in them, particularly the trumpet usage in Thorn and the industrial synthesizer-driven middle section of 'Waste of Air' that has to be heard to be believed. The growls are particularly irritating in 'Thorn' as they appear to be done by another vocalist.

As a contrast 'Mb Indifferentia' is a very atmospheric ballad with a psychedelic feel and serene vocals that slowly builds into a massive ending with great vocal harmonies.

'Mediocrity Wins' is a very different song led by slap bass and vocal chants reminiscent of rap music in its verses, contrasted by soaring vocal melodies associated with its choruses. The verses turn into death metal (with harsh vocals) briefly halfway through the song but fortunately last less than 20 seconds. 'Cryptogenic Desires' has a quirky metal sound at times and is very dynamic for its short length. Growls are also present here but they seem to fit in better.

'Acquired Taste' has a more muted sound at times, continues the odd time signatures but alternates them with pretty basic 4/4 guitar passages and catchy melodies. Polyrhythms and odd time signatures make a glorious comeback in its excellent last minute.

'Painful Detour' continues the varied odd time signature metal riffing and comes closer to the unpredictable sound of 'Forced Entry'. There is a haunting extended section with ambient wordless vocalizations, juxtaposed against a gradually building metal sound. This is one of the strongest sections in the album.

The inventiveness of the song structures, usage of keyboards, highly memorable and pleasing vocal melodies, and the consistently incredible musicianship make this an attractive album for a listener that wants to break away from the monotony of mainstream heavy music. As previously mentioned, be aware of the growls - they frequently do not match the instrumentation and may work against the enjoyment of the album, even if less than 10% of the album is associated with them.

4.5 to 5-star songs: *Forced Entry*, Bilateral, Mb Indiferrentia, Acquired Taste 3.5 star songs to 4 star songs: Painful Detour, Mediocricy Wins, Restless 2.5 to 3 star songs: Waste of Air, Cryptogenic Desires Songs I dislike: Thorn

Review by Kempokid
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.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Considering Leprous still is my absolute favourite band ever since I discovered them 8 years ago, its kindof a shame I am only writing now my first review.. and I am probably still not able to find the right words to describe the sheer resonance ontop of the utter awesomeness, but here we go.. I ... (read more)

Report this review (#1346250) | Posted by Mind_Drive | Thursday, January 15, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Bilateral" is the second studio album by the Norwegian metal act Leprous. I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of the progressive metal genre. There is just something about it that I can't really explain, it just prevents me from really getting into it. However, I love everything about this ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#1326109) | Posted by aglasshouse | Thursday, December 18, 2014 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Appreciation of music is a very subjective thing as we all know. Norway's Leprous are regarding as a rising star of progressive metal. I purchased their album Bilateral when it was released in 2011 thinking that as it was on the Inside Out label it would be a quality piece of music. How wrong I w ... (read more)

Report this review (#1261752) | Posted by FXM | Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Scream Bilateral is a shining example in the most literal of terms. As an avid music listener and someone who writes for and about many new artists, I will regularly get questions from bands who have released a debut about how they can improve their sound. And for those that released 'g ... (read more)

Report this review (#1174655) | Posted by Gallifrey | Monday, May 12, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Norway's Leprous are tough to pigeon-hole, but tech/extreme is a lesser part of their identity. Some songs follow the catchy prog metal a la Dreamtheater template so common these days. Others remind of textured alternative rock with its fragile-to-powerful dynamic. And then there are traces of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1136565) | Posted by Progrussia | Monday, February 24, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Acquiring the taste. I am not on the heavy side of prog, so at first I was a bit afraid to listen to this album. But I am glad I did. Of course, the album is a bit heavy, but not so heavy as exptected. What makes 'Bilateral' fascinating is the sophisticated composition of the songs, with their ... (read more)

Report this review (#941412) | Posted by Formentera Lady | Tuesday, April 9, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Impressive!! The norwege band as done it again. The follow up after Tall Poppy Sindrome is just a music evolution tha is stuning track after track. They use a formula that I would like Opeth to use. Less growling and more clean vocals. Forced Entry is by far in my opinion the best track in th ... (read more)

Report this review (#629257) | Posted by Ricc | Thursday, February 9, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Sometimes, a person finds an album that seems to be tailored to their exact musical tastes. Sometimes, a person falls in love with an album that fits their current mood. And sometimes, a band just knows what they are doing. The aforementioned person is me. The band is Leprous. I'm quite famili ... (read more)

Report this review (#620322) | Posted by DragonX32 | Thursday, January 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars WOW, this is the album of the year for me. I have listened to this album once or twice a week, since, BILATERAL, was released. I can't get enough of this album. Leprous have shocked me. I liked, Tall Poppy Syndrome, but BILATERAL is an absolute Masterpiece. Very few album over the last few ye ... (read more)

Report this review (#583456) | Posted by Prog_Rocks | Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars There has been too much impact with this Leprous album. This is not a bad album of tech extreme prog metal. Specially may be could be good album if you haven,y listened works of Devin Townsend,Unexpect,Mars Volta and Opeth(some Anathema and KC maybe too) But if you have listened to work ... (read more)

Report this review (#523894) | Posted by robbob | Thursday, September 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars King Crimson, Dream Theater, Pain Of Salvation, The Mars Volta, Faith No More, Devin Townsend, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Post Rock, Tech/Extreme, Metal, Jazz, Experimental, heavy rock, etc... How can you fit everything that influenced you in nearly an hour? And be genuine, something new? And keep a sol ... (read more)

Report this review (#513068) | Posted by Sophocles | Friday, September 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Leprous is a new name to me in the Norwegian band flora, but they have released two highly rated albums before this album. It seems like this album is breaking them big time. Leprous is blending in a lot of outside influences into their progressive metal. Everything from Abba to other pop music ... (read more)

Report this review (#503790) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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