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Leprous - Aeolia CD (album) cover

AEOLIA

Leprous

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.71 | 100 ratings

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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 fuck 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.

6.6

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

Gallifrey | 3/5 |

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