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LEPROUS

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Norway


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Leprous biography
LEPROUS are a Tech/Extreme band from Norway. Founded in 2001 by Einar SOLBERG (synth,vocals) and Tor ODDMUND SUHRKE (guitar,vocals), the group went through numerous line-up shuffles before settling on the current members Halvor STRAND (bass), ystein LANDSVERK (guitar,backing vocals)and Tobias RNES ANDERSEN (drums).

The members of LEPROUS are young, but despite their youth this group packs some impressive musical pedigrees. SOLBERG played live for EMPEROR and SUHRKE and STRAND were members of IHSAHN'S touring band.

In 2004 LEPROUS self-released their 3 song EP "Silent Waters" and in 2006 self-released their full-length demo album "Aeolia". The band signed to Sensory Records and released their sophomore effort "Tall Poppy Syndrome" in 2009. The band later were signed by Inside Out Music and released "Bilateral" in 2011 and "Coal" in 2013.

LEPROUS' music is hard to classify and pin down to one sub-genre. Their music is firmly rooted in prog metal, crafting songs around odd structures, predominantly clean vocals, abrupt time changes, complex rhythms and dexterous musicianship all punctuated by contrasting heavier sections but also punctuated with growling vocals and black metal shrieks. Taking elements from OPETH, DREAM THEATER, WINDS, IHSAHN, CYNIC and even PORCUPINE TREE and SONATA ARCTICA, LEPROUS assembles these influences in an odd yet undeniably appealing manner.

A very diverse band and highly recommended to ALL prog metal fans!

Leprous official website

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Buy LEPROUS Music


BilateralBilateral
Inside Out U.S. 2011
Audio CD$9.50
$6.98 (used)
Tall Poppy SyndromeTall Poppy Syndrome
LASER'S EDGE GROUP 2009
Audio CD$9.60
$9.41 (used)
CoalCoal
Inside Out 2013
Audio CD$8.25
$7.27 (used)
Tall Poppy Syndrome by Leprous (2009) Audio CDTall Poppy Syndrome by Leprous (2009) Audio CD
LASER'S EDGE GROUP
Audio CD$38.02
コーTMコーTM
COLUMBIA JAPAN
Audio CD$30.69
$53.15 (used)
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More places to buy LEPROUS music online Buy LEPROUS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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LEPROUS shows & tickets


  • Leyendas del Rock 2014 on 7 Aug 2014
  • 2 Days Prog + 1 on 5 Sep 2014
  • ProgPower USA XV on 12 Sep 2014
  • Leprous at Mavericks, Ottawa on 19 Sep 2014
  • Leprous at The Studio at Webster Hall, New York, NY on 20 Sep 2014
  • Leprous at Empire, Springfield, VA on 21 Sep 2014
  • Euroblast Festival X on 2 Oct 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at The Garage, London on 23 Oct 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at The Assembly, Leamington Spa on 24 Oct 2014
  • Bristol Prog Invasion on 26 Oct 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at The Village, Dublin on 29 Oct 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at Club Academy, Manchester on 31 Oct 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at Liquid Room, Edinburgh on 1 Nov 2014
  • Haken + Leprous + Maschine at The Duchess, York on 2 Nov 2014

LEPROUS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LEPROUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.70 | 60 ratings
Aeolia
2006
4.12 | 220 ratings
Tall Poppy Syndrome
2009
3.91 | 316 ratings
Bilateral
2011
3.93 | 212 ratings
Coal
2013

LEPROUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LEPROUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LEPROUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LEPROUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Silent Waters
2004

LEPROUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Aeolia by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.70 | 60 ratings

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Aeolia
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Gallifrey

3 stars Bungle Origins

I was both surprised and not surprised to find that Aeolia was actually a pretty decent album. Surprised because of its reputation as the band's disowned debut, choosing to always list Tall Poppy Syndrome as their first album, and obviously the big glaring 'DEMO' tag, as well as its length. But then again, this is Leprous, one of the most unique and interesting bands in modern progressive metal, they can't have come from nothing. The Leprous sound is very evident on Aeolia, although it's clear that there was a lot of work done after it. To be honest, if I had heard this at the time, I would never have predicted a masterpiece like Bilateral coming out of this band, but it's clear that that sound is evident.

For one, the avant-garde aspect of Leprous' music is far more evident here, even taking the forefront over the progressive on a lot of the songs. They choose to open 'Disclosure' with a weird and eclectic Mr. Bungle-style piano/wah break, which is honestly one of the weirdest things they have done, and in my opinion sets a terribly tone for the album. Apart from this part, 'Disclosure' is undeniably the best song here, and with a bit of tweaking, could even rank amongst their more recent material. The song is built around a very strong melodic chorus, carrying an excellent melody and Einar's trademark voice. Although his vocals are a shade of what they would become, you can certainly hear some of the unique approach to screams that came onto Bilateral.

Unfortunately, as decent as 'Disclosure' is, this album is insanely top-heavy, with the next best tracks all following straight after it. The album really starts to lose it by the time 'The Great Beast' comes in, a great monstrosity of a wankfest, even going as far as to having the opening with time signatures of 7/8 and 16/12 alternating (and to everyone who says 16/12 isn't a time signature, please learn more theory and shut the [%*!#] up). The song plays with some LOUDASHELL/softashell dynamics in its verse, and I do understand what they're aiming at, but boy is it corny. The following track 'Indecisive' isn't necessarily a bad song, but it features a really, really irritating chorus featuring Einar and another vocalist flinging lines at each other, and it gets stuck in your head in the most infuriating of times.

But even of the good songs here, there are still some downsides. 'Black Stains' is a pretty good song with a nice groove and a bridge that sounds straight of Tall Poppy Syndrome, but for some odd reason Leprous decide to throw in the weirdest piano break ever which splits the song completely and nearly kills the good vibes from the melodies. 'Aeolus Shadow' opens with an absolutely blistering riff, playing one of the best chord progression I have heard, and although this progression is amazing and the way Einar flies over the top wailing like a synth is the perfect way to develop it, the entire song feels weak, and I honestly think it's a waste of such a great progression.

For every nice moment on Aeolia, there is an equally frustrating moment of juvenile weakness. I am glad that Leprous decided to drop the cheesy avant-garde and focus on the prog, because this music is hard to take seriously sometimes. This album is not without promise, and I really am waiting for them to bring back some of the piano from this album ' the massive solo in 'Disclosure' reminds me of the massively self-indulgent one Matt Bellamy pulled in the middle of 'Butterflies & Hurricanes', and it is truly awesome. Aeolia's sound is decent at best with moments of greatness and moments of embarrassment. The production here, being a demo, is also a bit of a barrier ' in spite of all the great melodies, the average production means that Einar's voice often sounds quite weak, especially when he's singing in harmony with himself. I wouldn't recommend it to a casual fan, since their studio albums do it so much better, but it's certainly not a bad album by any means, and hardcore fans will definitely find something to enjoy.

6.5

Originally written for my facebook page/blog: Facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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 Coal by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.93 | 212 ratings

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Coal
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Gallifrey

5 stars Coal Syndrome

Definition: when a new album from a band you consider highly does not reach your high expectations, but even after time and learning that the album is actually very good, you still feel disappointed in it.

I think my review for Dead Letter Circus' The Catalyst Fire sums up my feelings about Coal pretty well, with a few differences ? the main one being that I had no expectations for that album, but I was hoping for a 10/10 masterpiece from this. Every time I come back to this record, no matter how much I have learn to love it, I still feel ever so slightly disappointed, because it could have been better. Coal certainly has the melodic material to constitute an album as good as Bilateral, but it missed the mark on so many tracks, and many moments here feel half-assed, as if Leprous were writing on autopilot. But as my ever-increasing rating for this album implies, I really, really like it now. Every time I hear it, I still slightly wish they had done things differently, but I can't deny that this is a logical continuation of Bilateral.

Many people have noted the 'static' element that Coal holds, and that may have been what made me so disappointed at first. The songs here don't push too many moods at once; they don't fly from ridiculous to ridiculous; they are more concise and focused, staying on one mood or melody for longer times, and building the songs to crescendos and endings as opposed to puzzles of fiddly bits. I would argue that Bilateral still did this better ? a track like "Forced Entry", even if it is dozens of melodies thrown together, still feels like it has a concise direction. Coal boasts three 9-minute tracks, and of them, none of them really feel their length. "Echo", the longest one here, builds entirely around a rather basic melody, but with its beautifully subtle chorus, creates a fantastic mood that it drags out to the end of oblivion. Whether this is a good thing or not is up to you, and I'll admit ? I didn't really like it at first. Even now, the midsections of "Echo" and "The Valley", and the final two minutes of opener "Foe" still get on my nerves a bit in their repetitiveness. I can appreciate focusing on build and theme and mood, but sometimes it's just too much, and no part of me really wants to hear Einar sing the same few notes in 7/8 for two whole [%*!#]ing minutes. And the fact is, by the time they're done, all sense of mood from the fantastic first half has vanished, and the intro to "Chronic" is nowhere near as punching.

But I'll try and stay away from being too negative about this album, because the fact is that now I really like it, and I do believe it holds a good place in the Leprous discography, even if it is the weakest of their studio albums. As I mentioned ? for the first three minutes, "Foe" is absolutely glistening. I have praised Einar's voice to the end of the universe in my review for Bilateral, but I feel this could even be his best yet, creating such a punching feeling over the syncopated guitar and drums. He sings so high up in his range, yet every syllable smashes the note in the face with a mallet, to the point where "punchy" doesn't even cover it. The song's chorus is another testament to the great vocal technique that he began on Bilateral, although it is the only true appearance of it on this album. The way he melodically screams "sentiMENTAAALL" is as spinechilling as it is impressive, but I still can't help but complain about the way the song ends (again).

On the whole, Coal features a series of tracks that don't really achieve masses on their own, but add to a bigger picture in their own way. There's no denying that I would be impressed like hell by this album if I hadn't already heard their other stuff, but in comparison, I'm used to hearing a Leprous song have 15 fantastic hooks, not just one. The album really hits its stride with the title track though, although "Chronic" is decent, it feels a bit like a Leprous-doing-Leprous song. The Title track here, however, is unlike anything they have ever done, and honestly unlike anything I have heard in metal. The song is insanely groovy, putting all its energy around that toe- tappingly good beat that never dies throughout the track's rather lengthy (for a song of its sort) duration. Some of this track could even be called quite djenty, if Leprous had not opted for a far more bearable guitar tone. The song is undeniably one of the heaviest songs the band have ever done, but for once I'm actually loving this metal side. I complained on both the previous albums about the guitar tone, but here, it's just so damn groovy. The tone is thick and chunky, dark and murky, and is accentuated perfectly by some of the best drumming I have ever heard.

Oh yeah, I should really mention the drums, because they are one of the things that make this album, and not just because of how they're played. The title track, after its first chorus, spins into a ferociously intense 'breakdown', with guitars being chopped and edited and spiraled in circles, and those drums playing all sorts of spastic tones. It's seriously such a thing to behold, the way these drums make chaos into unfiltered awesomeness through their tone and placement. The snare and kick both have such a round and punchy sound that meshes with the guitar tone so well. The other time when the drums come forward is during the rather divisive closer "Contaminate Me", which received my award for best drum performance of 2013. From the glitchy grace notes that adorn the snare during the verses to the sprawling and chaotic smash-fest that comes under Ihsahn's black metal rage at the end, this song is created almost entirely to showcase how [%*!#]ing good these drums sound, and even though I wasn't a fan of this track at first, I can't help but be enthralled by the sounds on offer here.

Musically though, this track is very divisive for me personally, and is the first Leprous track since Aeolia to really embrace their avant-garde metal side full-on. I think the reason I was a bit shocked by it at first was that it really didn't sound like a Leprous song, but I sort of came to the realisation that if I had heard it on one of Ihsahn's solo records, I would be impressed. I'm still not completely sold on it, and it's almost entirely down to the man himself. I want to love his vocals here. I mean, this is basically Leprous going full avant-garde black metal for the first time, and Ihsahn, the king of black metal, is taking the lead vocally. And honestly, I didn't mind his part in "Thorn" from Bilateral, and on his solo albums his screams are pretty inoffensive, but holy [&*!#] I can't stand his vocals here. But it's like he's not trying. I know that Ihsahn can hit that glory spot in his screams, the "crisp" and "crunchy" texture that he gives them, but a lot of these screams are without that, he's gasping for grip on that harshness, and many of them sound like a dying pig, or like a cool 13-year-old who is trying to learn how to be kvlt. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of the ridiculous drums and guitars and Ihsahn screaming "CONTAMMINAATEE MAAAYYYAYAYYYAY" in the most menacing way, but I really just wish he hit the notes a bit better. As much as I love the idea of this track ? and if I had read "Leprous ends this record with a 9-minute epic that starts of melodically then spirals into atmospheric avant-garde black metal chaos with Ihsahn screaming feelings everywhere" I would have been very excited, but this just doesn't hit it.

Of the less metal tracks here, every song has a chorus or lead melody that is really fantastic. I mean, this is Leprous, and they've always had strong choruses, but my problems lie in that the songs lean on them way too hard. Both the epic "The Valley" and ballad track "The Cloak" have stunning choruses that would rank among the best on the previous two records, but the rest of the song always seems to be building to it instead of finding its own identity, and no matter how good the choruses are, they cannot hold aloft a whole song. "The Valley" utilises a dreamy and atmospheric bridge that is quite nice honestly until it keeps going for 45 minutes, culminating in one of the best syncopated guitar patterns on the record, and that final chorus. Oh yeah, it's good, but take it away and the song is mediocre at best.

Coal is a very different record for Leprous. The songs all have strong centres, but the rest of the music floats around it, unlike on Bilateral and Tall Poppy Syndrome, where the songs were built out of several strong themes that could all stand on their own if necessary. I do love this record, and its purpose as "the dark brooding one" is evident, and I guess I can never complain about a band changing up their style. This album is dark and intense, it is their heaviest yet, but it is also somehow their most accessible. I know some people who have never been a fan of them come to like this album, so what do I know. Well, I know that I was wrong about Coal, as much as I am still disappointed in it. Leprous can do know wrong, and this is evidence of that.

8.4

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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 Bilateral by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.91 | 316 ratings

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Bilateral
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Gallifrey

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 'good-to-decent' debuts, I can normally give good advice, and avoiding the sophomore slump is not such an issue. It's the bands who release stellar debuts that I have a hard time giving advice to, and they have a hard time releasing something past their debut.

Of all the great debuts that there have been, I really can't think of a single band who has topped their first album. I find that bands will either slowly build up to their best work from a weaker first couple of albums (see Porcupine Tree, Anathema, Opeth), or they will release a phenomenal debut that already has a distinctive sound, and fail to repeat it over and over again (see The Mars Volta, The Reign of Kindo, Dead Letter Circus, even Dream Theater if we forget about When Dream and Day Unite). Leprous, with Bilateral, are the only band in the entire world that, to my knowledge, have avoided this.

Of course, I guess I should point out that perhaps the reason Leprous topped Tall Poppy Syndrome is because they are not part of the latter group, but the former, because I'm ignoring Aeolia in my equation. And yeah, I guess the fact that Aeolia was a full-length demo and actually housed some pretty decent tracks means that it was their debut as opposed to Tall Poppy Syndrome, but still think the feat remains, because Tall Poppy Syndrome was treated as a debut. When Leprous exploded onto the prog metal scene, everyone just called it their debut and gave the same sort of praise that a debut of that calibre would gain. So the feat remains. When you release a breakthrough album that gets praise about its uniqueness and character, it can be extremely difficult to try and capture those same fans, whilst at the same time moving forward and creating a different album, while at the same time keeping the musicality and composition the same level.

The impossible truth is that Bilateral somehow sounds like the same Leprous that produced Tall Poppy Syndrome, yet it is also a completely different record. On first listen, you'll hear it and go "yeah, this sounds like Leprous", but after a while, and a bit of comparison, you realise how different it is to Tall Poppy Syndrome. The most obvious difference here is the absence of Einar Solberg's delicious and incredibly intricate piano. Those who know me know that piano is my favourite instrument by a good length, and I will always praise a band for its use, especially in the context of rock or metal music. So weird then, to think that with the amazing piano on Tall Poppy Syndrome, and its near complete absence on Bilateral, that I believe this album to be the superior. But to be honest, I didn't even notice. I didn't finish this album and go "oh damn, where are the awesome piano parts", and in fact I didn't even notice for a good time, until Coal was released and the piano returned. There are brief appearances here during "Acquired Taste" and "Painful Detour", but nothing compared to the lengthy solos or dominating rhythm parts on its predecessor. And the reason I didn't notice the piano here is simple ? because the melodies and performances from the other instruments are just too good.

The second track here, "Forced Entry" is undeniably Leprous' best song yet, and is generally one of the best prog metal epics I have ever heard, especially in the second half. The song begins with a rather angular and weird riff, but soon breaks into a fantastically catchy groove, pushing 4/4 time to its extreme limits until it's basically not recognisable. The song's chorus drives the energy even further up, which is possibly the reason this is such a brilliant piece of composition, because of the way the energy is kept alive for ten minutes. Within just four minutes, the band have strung together multiple melodies that are all stellar on their own, from the epic "rest in peace" to Einar's falsetto "help me survive", and yet together, these pieces make for something truly exceptional.

But as much as the first half creates a ton of energy and runs through a good number of melodies and motifs, it's the second half that really kills me. After a short break and a light keyboard part, the band strike an absolutely awesome 7/4 groove, possibly the best I have ever heard in that signature, and Einar pulls out some of the best vocal melodies he has done over the top. It really impresses me how all of these lines are in some variant of 7, changing each bar and keeping in line with the odd rhythm. Sounding this natural in an odd signature is something that really impresses me in prog metal, something that bands like Dream Theater have never managed. This part of the song has Einar panting out some rather strange and disturbing lyrics ? my friends and I once joked that "Forced Entry" was a rape analogy, but after we proceeded to read the lyrics, it really didn't seem like a distant possibility. The lyrics scream of obsession and addiction, and although some of the lines may be calm, in context they are quite disturbing, "Bring me home, shut the door, send me a glimpse of the future once more. Settle down, go to rest, sit back, relax?."

Oh.

Oh.

Wow.

What the hell was that?

Jesus.

Is he making that with his mouth?

The sound that Einar Solberg makes at 8:43 in "Forced Entry" is the greatest noise ever made by a human. This is a fact.

I have yet to find someone who has not been impressed by The Scream. Even people with basically no knowledge of music and no enjoyment of metal were impressed, and I use it as pure evidence toward my case proving Einar Solberg as the best vocalist in the planet. It's so raw, yet so stunningly pitched. It's in a range that is neither falsetto nor standard, it both has pitch and has none. I managed to get it once, or at least I believed I did, by drinking a massive amount of coffee and blocking the back of my throat with phlegm to create a second diaphragm. It's like a falsetto note with masses of vibrato, done in a black metal scream fashion. Actually, it's unlike anything I have ever heard, and trying to explain with words is pointless. My point is that it is phenomenal, and the cherry on top of one of the best songs ever written. Or is it just?

I love the way that after The Scream, it just goes straight back in. Back to that fantastic bridge verse, back to that fantastic groove. The energy I mentioned before has quadrupled; the song is now so full of it that it has its own gravitational field. I love the way that Einar amps up the intensity in the second part though, somehow topping the first. He sings the awesome "knowing how long you've made me wait" line with such brilliant finesse, perfectly stressing the slide at the end, building up until?

It happens again.

And it's bigger.

Ok, ok, scratch that, this is the best one. The second scream. So often, when I was first getting into this record, I completely forgot about this part, because The Scream just seems like the logical climax, and this took me completely by surprise. I remember when I was very small, we used to draw graphs of the 'intensity' of a novel or short story, so we would know what a climax was and what a denouement was and all that stuff. If this song was drawn on one of those (very scientific) graphs, The Scream would bring it to the other side of the room, and The Second Scream would punch a hole in the wall and continue the scale out to halfway across the damn ocean. It's the cherry on top of another cake that is sitting on top of the previous cherry from the previous cake. By the time the opening riff comes flying in to finish the song, I'm out of breath. Hell, I'm out of breath just writing this, and I'm currently in a biology lecture.

But The Scream is not the only reason Bilateral tops its predecessor. Sure, Einar has found his ground as the best vocalist on the planet, which is concrete evidence of this album's achievement, but there is the not-so-concrete evidence of the band's songwriting stepping up as well. As I have said, I should prefer Tall Poppy Syndrome, given my boner for piano (especially piano-heavy metal music), but this album trumps it in nearly every way with its composition.

Take a track like "MB Indifferentia", and its counterpoint on the previous album, "Fate". It's clear these track are linked in their lack of harsh vocals, in their rock-centric musicianship, and jazz- influenced verses, as well as Einar's use of falsetto. "Fate" was one of the weaker songs on the debut, but still contained a blistering midsection, great solos, and an obviously stellar performance from Einar. But on MB Indifferentia, everything is turned up to 11. While the song is far more linear than Fate, and is missing the epic midsection, it makes up to it fully with the biggest climax you can imagine (if you pretend that Forced Entry didn't exist). Einar belts the wonderful melody he sung so solemnly earlier in full look-how-much-better-I-am chest voice range, reaching far above what us normal folk could ever dream of hitting without falsetto. It is more or less the best melody they have come up with ? solemn when it needs to be, yet epic and grandiose in the finale. And to top it all off, The Scream returns, for one last bow. I'll admit though, there's a minute or so in the first half that could have been cut, and the entire song could do with a bit of trimming, structure-wise, but everything is forgiven by the final minute.

But it's not just the two outstanding songs here that show improvement. Nearly half of the songs here are better than the best song on Tall Poppy Syndrome, with my next favourites being the closing duo of "Acquired Taste" and "Painful Detour". The former is the only track to have the piano of the debut throughout, and gains its high position from the absolutely beautiful chorus melody (especially in its final rendition), whereas the latter gains its praise from being just plain awesome. Calling back the previous album's "White", it holds great energy throughout the track, utilizing one of the catchiest choruses the band have created, and even features some nice doubling of sax and falsetto vocals in the bridge, but the track really reaches its stride with the blistering ending to the bridge, with Einar reprising The Scream once again over a wall off intense double kicks.

Although I really do not wish to bore everyone by going through every track on this record, I should give a mention to "Waste of Air", or more specifically, how it nearly ruins the album for me. It's not a bad song, but every time it comes on, especially following such a fantastic track as Mb Indifferentia, I let out a massive sigh of "oh not this bitch again", before settling down to tolerate it for five and a half minutes. I guess there's something kinda cool about a random section of blast beats, and the bridge has a very weird 17/16 vocal part that Einar dominates, but on the whole, the album would be better without it. The only other track that I'm not a huge fan of is the opening title track, but it does its job in introducing the album and building into Forced Entry, so it is forgiven. "Mediocrity Wins" is also an interesting track, although not necessarily bad or great. Its main point of interest is the 7/8 beat poem/rap that Einar does in the verses, which is just another vocal style to his repertoire, and it's especially impressive when he layers it with some of his semi-harsh screams on top.

Bilateral is the peak of Leprous' career, and it one of the best records in progressive metal, full stop. It still has flaws, and is certainly not perfect, but the combination of the ambitious and unique style with stellar songwriting with Einar's newfound ability to create such a fantastic noise make this a modern classic in every sense of the word. Despite this, I honestly would not recommend starting here with Leprous ? Tall Poppy Syndrome is a more accessible record, and I also believe everyone should hear Leprous' marvelous feat in topping that record, something that is still nearly unheard of in music (to me, at least).

9.5

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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 Tall Poppy Syndrome by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.12 | 220 ratings

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Tall Poppy Syndrome
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Leprous mix extreme metal with various clean metal subgenres - from power to melancholic. That by itself is not original - lots of bands were doing this in the zeros. But Leprous are more diverse that average, and also feature one of the more impressive vocal gymnasts out there. Song structures on their second, or first properly produced, album, are quite progressive and inventive, with lots of twists and turns. Too bad they concentrate too much on the extreme/normal metal dynamic and not enough on unexpected detours such as falsetto outro in Passing or lounge piano popping up here and there. A capella even makes a brief appearance.

Overall, this is probably Leprous most diverse and in-your-face-see-what we can do album. Also has more guitar solos. Later ones are more streamlined and delve further into post rock and Brit pop, but are still recognizably Leprous.

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 Bilateral by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.91 | 316 ratings

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Bilateral
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progrussia

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 their extreme metal origins, with occasional blast beats, dissonant atmospherics and screaming vocals tearing thru the proceedings. In short, they are diverse enough to be worth a listen, but not consistent and don't hold enough surprises (if you don't count extreme metal suddenly, and often irritatingly, punctuating otherwise normal songs) to be great. Or perhaps the problem is a lack of identity at all. Because sometimes it feels like the only thing reminding this is the same band is the impressively ranged vocal of Einar Solberg.

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 Coal by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.93 | 212 ratings

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Coal
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progrussia

3 stars A marriage between traditional prog metal and that atmospheric direction that the more adventurous black metal bands have taking recently. A true marriage, half-way, not just a black metal with progressive structures or prog trying to seem cool. Tracks are divided between more metallic numbers, at the start and end, and more laid back in the middle. From prog metal side it has powerful production values, off-beat rhythms and a show-off-y vocal, when its normal. From other side of the coin, it retains riff-based atmospherics, non traditional structures and occasional Cookie Monster vocal.

Even if I appreciate the more distinctive style here (some ideas similar to recent Haken release), it doesn't mean I like the end result. Songs lack variation inside, usually centered around one or two repetetive melodic ideas, that in a post-rocky fashion are tweaked slightly along the way, but not nearly enough to justify the 7-minute length. There are no "wow" moments that would make say, like, wow that's impressive. And then there's the squeeze-the-nuts-of-the-Cookie-monster vocals. Luckily, its mostly guest-done, courtesy of Emperor's vocalist.

All in all, you've go to hand it to Leprous guys, each album shows evolution. For better or worse, up to individual tastes. Compared to previous, Bilateral, Coal is more streamlined, but less diverse.

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 Bilateral by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.91 | 316 ratings

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Bilateral
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Bilateral by Leprous finds the band diversifying their sound, presenting an album which range 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.

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 Coal by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.93 | 212 ratings

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Coal
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars I have come to learn about Leprous in early 2013, having listened to a few impressive samples and later in the year to this, fourth, album by the band. One thing is for sure: their sound is generally outside the norm, experiments freely and has character.

The initial impression I got from "Coal" was that of awe, listening to this powerful combination of Devin Townsend soundscapes, pounding heavy mid-tempo riffology and atmospheric experimentation. On the other hand, extremely melodic refrains and well-crafted harmonies provide the softer side and (arguably) keep the balance. With an average track length of 7 minutes, there is much on which to ponder, however Leprous don't always provide the necessary variety to make this a remarkable release. There are sporadic moments of glory and some majestic tunes that are genre-defining but the overall package lacks, I feel, the consistency and quality. The first three and last track are rather heavy-experimented tunes, often with Townsend-type chaotic moments, while tracks 4-7 are far more melodic, almost splitting the album into two different types of songs. In addition the indie/Muse influences on tracks like 'Chronic' slightly dilute their effort.

My preference in "Coal" tends towards the more melodic aspect, with 'The Valley' and 'Echo' being the highlights of this release. An interesting release but not a top-10 album, "Coal" will appeal to friends of experimental progressive metal. I look forward to exploring in depth all their releases as the glimpses of the highest quality are on this album, albeit not enough.

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 Coal by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.93 | 212 ratings

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Coal
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Leprous are not a band who stands still; comparing this album to 2009's Tall Poppy Syndrome reveals substantial and well-honed artistic growth. The influences of the likes of Porcupine Tree and others which could be heard on the earlier album are now much more difficult to detect, Leprous' sound having taken on a unique cast which pits them as true originals. The closest comparison I can think of is "what if a more tasteful version of Muse went prog metal, having listened to heaps of Porcupine Tree?", but even that doesn't encapsulate all the dimensions available here - for instance, it would obscure the extreme metal eruption of the magnificent closing track, Contaminate Me. Magnificent stuff.

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 Tall Poppy Syndrome by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.12 | 220 ratings

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Tall Poppy Syndrome
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Leprous seem to be especially catholic in their prog metal influences, since every review of Tall Poppy Syndrome I see seems to liken their work to a different set of influences. Personally, I hear a lot of post-In Absentia Porcupine Tree in this one, which perhaps explains why others hear echoes of Opeth (considering the close ties between the two groups). Dream Theater I hear less of, aside from a few melodic passages here and there. Either way, these guys seem to have a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the history of their chosen subgenre, and an ability to draw on all corners for it in their compositions.

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