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LEPROUS

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Norway


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Leprous biography
Founded in Notodden, Norway in 2001

LEPROUS are a Tech/Extreme band founded 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), Øystein LANDSVERK (guitar,backing vocals)and Tobias ØRNES 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 Videos (YouTube and more)


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MalinaMalina
Century Media 2017
$12.70
$7.16 (used)
Live At Rockefeller Music HallLive At Rockefeller Music Hall
Inside Out Music 2016
$16.34
$16.67 (used)
BilateralBilateral
Inside Out Music 2012
$38.13
$12.49 (used)
The CongregationThe Congregation
Inside Out Music 2015
$19.42
$14.98 (used)
CoalCoal
Insideout Music 2013
$12.69
$16.40 (used)
Live at Rockefeller Music HallLive at Rockefeller Music Hall
Century Media Records 2016
$20.65
$20.69 (used)
BilateralBilateral
Insideout Music 2017
$253.06
Coal by Leprous (2013-05-04)Coal by Leprous (2013-05-04)
Inside Out
$75.99
$24.73 (used)
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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)

3.71 | 100 ratings
Aeolia
2006
4.14 | 353 ratings
Tall Poppy Syndrome
2009
3.90 | 469 ratings
Bilateral
2011
3.97 | 397 ratings
Coal
2013
4.07 | 486 ratings
The Congregation
2015
4.04 | 201 ratings
Malina
2017

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

4.20 | 15 ratings
Live at Rockefeller Music Hall
2016

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

4.09 | 25 ratings
Live At Rockefeller Music Hall
2016

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)

3.67 | 6 ratings
Silent Waters
2004
4.15 | 20 ratings
{From the Flame}
2017

LEPROUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bilateral by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.90 | 469 ratings

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Bilateral
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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.

 The Congregation by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.07 | 486 ratings

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The Congregation
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by SoundsofSeasons
Prog Reviewer

5 stars In this album we see Leprous fully embrace their new digitized soundscapes, complete with an even greater emphasis on vocals driving each song - including literally being featured as the forefront sound through the audio mixing. Influences of Radiohead, and Porcupine Tree are seen more here than any album to date of this review. For my tastes in music, in this time, it doesn't get much better than Leprous and the mix of styles they've incorporated into this album. The subtleties this band is able to produce just impresses me to no end. The classical, jazz, and chamber influences found here are more ever-present than any past releases. We have keys, drums, guitars all playing off one another with not minimalist but minimal trickles of sound layered on incredibly intricate patterns and structures, layered underneath the ever present vocals driving it all. The sound may be more accessible than ever because of this layered approach. Its' designed in such a way that a casual listener would pick up the insanely catchy vocals, maybe a guitar riff here or there, and be perfectly satisfied with that - but then dig deeper with a musical ear and you'll catch the hi-hat para-diddle 16th note patterns of the drums matching the bass guitar down to the syncopation and accented notes, all the while the vocals freely flowing around this, for example. It is in this layering of sounds Leprous has grabbed me as a fan. They didn't even bother with this in 'Tall Poppy', didn't try hard enough in 'Bi-Lateral', and only began to truly believe in themselves as a band to make the transition to such compositions in 'Coal'. Although i may actually like the next album after this one a bit more, this one is still a masterpiece as well, at least for my tastes in music.

An incredible album to say the least, that for me, due to my love of this bands' particular brand of music is a masterpiece. Whether you agree or not is completely up to your tastes and preferences - but everyone's opinion is valid, and if someone else happens to match my tastes, they'll come to find that this album and the future of Leprous can seemingly do no wrong.

 Coal by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 397 ratings

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Coal
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by SoundsofSeasons
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Full disclosure, I'm a massive fan of this band. They are my favorite fully active band in this exact moment in time. They have consistently topped themselves in an ever evolving sound they've developed all their own and improved with each and every release (for the most part). To my great pleasure, it seems likely they have a contract that requires them to release a new album every two years because their release schedule is like clockwork.

Now, as for this album, i'm reviewing this one after the release of 'The Congregation' and 'Malina' albums, and in those reviews you would see that i had praised them as near perfection, and literal perfection in the case of 'Malina'. This one is damn good, but it sees the band in a transition period. This album is broken up into two versions of the band, the older Leprous that found itself a thinking mans death metal band; see 'Tall Poppy Syndrome', and the Leprous of today utilizing more atmosphere, subtlety, clean vocals, dynamic range, and breathing room in song structure rather than all out go go go found in much metal they took inspiration from originally.

Phase 1 (the original Leprous sound): The album starts just like the previous one. Foe, Chronic, Coal - These songs could have been ripped straight from 'Bi-Lateral', in fact either they actually were bleed overs from previous ideas or they may be there in the beginning of the this album because they are what the fans were expecting... more of the previous and more of the same. I like to think that Leprous was actually told that they needed some more 'Bi- Lateral' esque songs at least in the beginning of their album if they wanted to then experiment with a new sound and direction later in the album. And they do.

Phase 2 (cue the new Leprous): In comes The Cloak and we see the band as a whole take a back seat to Einar Solbergs' vocals. Gorgeous. Who knew? Well we've seen glimpses of this before, but really Leprous never allowed the vocals to take center stage in such a way. This is the turning point. There's no going back now, the band has revealed the big surprise, they are clearly reaching toward a different style of music entirely and here we go with the rest of the album

Phase 2 continued: The Valley, Salt, Echo - This is Leprous experimenting with the new sound that they would later expand upon for the future. Subtle keyboard textures, vocals take the lead melodically with a quite clean sound, electronic sounds that people like to now say sound 'Radiohead-esque' and swells of dynamics that flow throughout the length of each song.

You know what i've noticed though? The drums and bass take a backseat in these songs. As a drummer myself, i clearly see that Tobias hits his heads significantly less in these songs than in any of the previous songs and any previous albums. In fact, i would say that he has almost nothing to do on these songs. Why? Because he's not that kind of drummer. I would know, i play quite a bit like him. I trained myself on Dream Theater style metal. There isn't much dynamic range there. No ghost notes to be had. Subtlety on a drumset is an incredibly difficult thing to perfect, especially if you still want to be technically impressive. This is something jazz drummers do so well. Think Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree, or Bill Bruford. Tobias was out of his element playing in these songs - he faded into the background. He is no longer the driving force, Leprous isn't playing death metal anymore, how fast you can hit that double bass pedal isn't going to cut it. I do believe this may have been a deciding factor as to why either Tobias left the band, or was removed, i don't follow music drama i don't know how that all occurred but i can tell you with certainty that the drummer that replaced him is not only just technically better but also much more suited toward the sound a mature Leprous wanted to reach. I'm not bass player, but i do know from playing in many jazz bands that the bassist and drummer are really one unit so i wouldn't be surprised if the axing of the drummer required a new bassist as well - every ying needs a yang and the new addition of a drummer to propel this band into the future would require a counterpart equally matched and perfect symbiosis.

Phase 3 (The blackness rises from the depths one last time): In the last moments of the song Echo, the song fades out to nothing so gradually it is obvious that the album should end there? No. Leprous has one last hurrah for their fans of their previous sound and that is the final track

Contaminate Me - This song is probably the only true black metal song Leprous has ever done at the time of writing this review. The drums of Tobias go all out one last time, he blasts the heads and kicks his feet as fast as his limbs can take him. The vocalist screams with a wail so sinister this song could be mistaken for a song from something off of Enslaved 'Isa" album, or any from that of Acturus. This is Leprous saying goodbye to their heritage. It is time for Leprous to clip their demon wings and go forth into a sound all their own.

This is an excellent piece of music, even if it gets the honor of being a collection of songs that clearly do not match in terms of overall band philosophy. For better or worse. For me, it is for the better that Leprous break the shackles that bound them to a purely death metal sound.

And greatness was just on the misty clouded horizon, out of the depths we crawl.

 Malina by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.04 | 201 ratings

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Malina
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by SoundsofSeasons
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Leprous is one of those bands that you will find is much loved on this site. When i first found my way to Prog Archives it would have been around 2005, i was 15 at that time (i didn't create a profile myself for a couple years into using the site). For years i didn't stray too far from the big names that i had seen praised highly on this site. I was obsessed with Opeth, had to have everything Opeth i could get my hands on, and other bands like. After a few years, when Opeth started moving in another direct with that sound that i didn't particularly like i was ready to stop obsessing over my one true love and expand my musical horizons as any boy does when it is time to venture out into the world with eyes wide open. And so i was looking for bands that were similar or at least could supplement my love for the extreme metal genre in the way Opeth did. I had heard a song from the Tall Poppy album through the free song stream that was offered at the time, and loved it, so naturally i got that album. Loved the entire album, truly loved it. I was not, however, obsessed with Leprous but since they were pretty much a brand new band at the time i was really looking forward to see them grow. I felt they were one of 'my' bands, you know, like i was a teenager the perfect age this was my time and i would get to grow up with this band. There were other bands within the progressive metal genre i like more though as a whole, but Leprous only really had one album (2 but i never got their first) so it wasn't really a fair comparison. Porcupine Tree, Anathema, and Riverside, and Pain of Salvation were huge for me - and then Opeth was at the top. So, with only one Leprous album to listen to they fell into my pile of other albums for bands i liked but weren't constantly in my CD player rotation.

Then one day i caught wind of a new album Bi-Lateral coming out for Leprous and i pre-ordered it, and at the time i had never pre-ordered a music album before (or anything at all before) so it was a big deal for me. When it came from amazon on the day of release i was so happy and ready to be one of the first people who listen to it and maybe even review it! It was good. Not as good as Tall Poppy but it was good! Bad sign, upon first few listens. Eventually after many more listens over the next months i realized i didn't like it as much, and so Leprous fell off my radar almost completely out of sheer disappointment. I was immature in my musical journey, and everything was either all or nothing, so really i shouldn't have had my expectations so high and i should not have let my love for the band drop so far away just because those unrealistic expectations hadn't been met. But, alas, Leprous was no longer a 'love' of mine.

Since that time Leprous has shown that they will release a new album every 2 years, and the proceeding albums (which sadly i skipped on release, as i Leprous was not in my 'radar' anymore) had seen the band experimenting with a different sound. A sound that i would come to find was much much better than Bi-Lateral, a sound i didn't know i wanted, a sound that would become the essence of Leprous as a band.

Now, as i'm reviewing this album, a new Leprous debut i on the horizon, and I have been spinning Malina some 50 + times. I'm obsessed. I'm more obsessed with this album that any other this year or the last. The direction Leprous took after Bi-Lateral saw the band maturing, evolving, and finding themselves and with this album they have come to make a masterpiece. The dynamic range of every instrument including and not least the drums, the subtle textures of the keys, the vocal swooning striking that perfect fal-setto. I am not only floored by the musicianship (and i never was during the first few albums, even as a young drummer myself), but i am more floored by the musicality. Take a band that could shred like no tomorrow in Tall Poppy Syndrome, and spend years pushing forward mechanically in their craft, and then learn the discipline to incorporate dynamic range, patience, subtlety, and self-control to allow all units of the band express their sound without any one group over powering or out shining another. In Malina, the band is one mind, and you see that the vision is not clouded it is pure.

I do think that Malina will be known as a landmark of progressive rock in this decade, at least within progressive metal but because of the nature of the music it really transcends any one genre or sub-genre.

Of all the the bands i've mentioned in this review, of those that hold the torch most brightly for progressive rock in the 2000s onward, i see great things for Leprous and i am most looking forward to what they bring to us next.

Absolute masterpiece, no doubt in my mind.

 Tall Poppy Syndrome by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.14 | 353 ratings

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Tall Poppy Syndrome
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars This is quite an interesting album, clearly taking influence from a range of sources, sounding like a somewhat more symphonic Opeth with more focus on interesting song structures, overlaid vocals, and more eclecticism, with an overall greater amount of bombast. Furthermore, I feel like there is slightly more of a black metal tinge compared to death metal, mostly for its very particular atmosphere it creates, along with the more raw, instrumentation that can take place during the heavier moments. That said, it is certainly on the much lighter side of this subgenre, since there are heavy overtones of symphonic elements along with more classic metal.

Passing starts off more or less hitting every box in which the album attempts to tick, with heavy guitar tones and powerful riffs juxtaposed by the soft vocals sounding somewhat similar to Ross Jennings of Haken. The song mostly centres itself around the classic loud soft dynamic, but makes this the focus of the track, with the soft vocal verses building up to the heavier riffs and screaming, before dying back down once again, with beautiful soft passages filled with classically inspired piano melodies, before Einar Solberg belts out his voice screaming "Tonight I'm passing away", which is then followed by someone who sound quite similar to Emperor's Ihsahn, bringing the song to an excellent close. Phantom Pain is a most fun, casually entertaining song, starting off softly before a sudden flurry of hit piano keys and blast beats kicks in and the song becomes far more bombastic, as the screams and catchy chorus are both backed by blast beats, making the song incredibly fun to listen to, due to how much wilder it is while still maintaining a degree of accessibility, despite the all around very heavy instrumental work, and rougher vocals. Dare You is a less immediately enjoyable song and doesn't quite stand out compared to some others, but is structurally interesting, merely having a chorus that appears twice, and is sandwiched between long stretches of instrumental work. The bookends of this track are quite djent oriented in approach, being extremely rhythmic, with a constant stop-start motion to it. It's the middle section that I find to be the most interesting aspect of the song however, breaking into some really pleasant, smooth, jazzy basslines. Fate is definitely the weakest song on the album by quite a wide margin, being a very bland ballad that has a major lack of any sort of impact at all, just boredom spanning the 5 minutes it goes for.

The second half of the album is where I feel things really pick up and become much more interesting, with He Will Kill Again being an excellent example of this. All in all, this is one of my absolute favourite songs by the band as a whole, being much more in vein with standard prog metal, while also going off on some interesting tangents, for one, the extremely theatrical nature of the chorus is nothing short of majestic, and the way it breaks down into a groovy, piano led melody. The latter is particularly great once the bass is introduced to it, going absolutely all over the place and really driving the song forward. The guitar solo near the end is also nothing short of amazing, and is definitely a large part of the reason why this song is a blast to listen all the way through. Not Even A Name sounds more like what I'd expect a softer song by this band to sound like, simply being more restrained in nature, rather than completely devoid of anything of interest, as this has a nice balance between some of the most melodious and most instense aspectsof the band's sound, with the slower moments being of note, all in all being very competent. While most people state that Tall Poppy Syndrome is the weakest track on this album, I personally find it to be a great instrumental with use of spoken word that I really like, and a really cool three chord motif that runs throughout. The best track of this album is easily its final one, White, being the most climactic, epic song the band has made, with minimal use of lyrics, almost solely repeating the same phrases and melody throughout, but becoming more desperate and intense each time through, unti lit ends up being sung in a higher key and considerably faster, which I find to be really well implemented here and definitely a big reason why I think this song is so great.

While this album is not perfect by any means, I do love the variation and experimentation present here, taking clear inspiration from other bands, yet twisting it into a different sound, complete with some interesting song structures and unforgettable melodies. This is definitely a great debut record from a band that would go on to further develop and refine their sound many times over, showcasing the ambition they clearly had while still definitely caring about the enjoyability factor while doing so, leading to an album equal parts challenging and fun.

Best songs: Passing, He Will Kill Again, White

Weakest songs: Fate

Verdict: Definitely one of the more accessible albums featured in this subgenre of prog metal, but definitely still filled with tasteful intensity throughout, combined with prominent symphonic elements, providing a highly entertaining album all around.

 Coal by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 397 ratings

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Coal
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Sadly, after having heard this album thoroughly, my impressions are very similar to the feelings I had when I saw them live together with Devin Townsend in Madrid a few years ago!

I get tired of their music after a pair of songs... And I don't know why! Because they practice a style of prog metal that I usually love. An stimulating mix between dark riffs, strong drums and an adventurous (although not always good accomplished) songwriting very influenced by bands like Tool, Opeth, Devin Townsend and even more conventional acts like Dream Theater.

Maybe are the annoying operatic vocals the fact that makes me tired of their music? Maybe the monotonous and repetitive instrumental parts which lacks true progressive charm in songs like Foe or Echo?

So despite Coal has a pair of truly great moments, it's not catchy enough for me and I don't see me coming back to this album too often. And that's a pity, because I see some greatness in this band that sadly can't not be completely heard in this record.

Best Tracks: Chronic (the most varied and best instrumental section of the album), The Cloak (a very welcomed break in the repetitiveness of the album in the form of a more mellow track) and The Valley (very good melodies and a fine chorus)

Conclusion: Coal is a good prog metal album, but it lacks something truly brilliant to be considered an excellent addition to any prog music collection. I get tired of the repetitive operatic vocals, the songwriting is not always catchy and compelling (Coal, Saturate Me) and the instrumental parts lack true magic and progressive power to be considered great.

Nevertheless, I will hear more Leprous albums because I see a truly great potential in this band that sadly in Coal is not fully materialized.

My rating: ***

 Malina by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.04 | 201 ratings

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Malina
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by praj912

5 stars I knew they'd do it. Masterpiece. It took time, but this is finally the pinnacle. Leprous are the new prog-metal benchmark. After seeing them live I can say they match up performance-wise also. This album tests your ears and mind. Dramatic, soaring, soul- moving, guttural....and there's still the 80s sugar pop thing that I hear. There aren't many bands at this level doing things that are new, properly new. I love a syncopated polyrhythm like the rest, and the album is full of great percussion. But, without the 'song', this is all a waste, and Leprous have hit the mark with the SONGS on this album. I hope they can repeat it! I want more!
 Tall Poppy Syndrome by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.14 | 353 ratings

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Tall Poppy Syndrome
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars I consider this to be the best Leprous album as of now (10/2018). This album expands on what the band did on their first album, sounds fresh, innovative and although it does showcase a few influences such as Dream Theater, Opeth, classical music, acoustic music, this is all blended and stirred to create an original music piece of music. If Opeth revolutionized Extreme Metal by introducing death and acoustic elements, Agalloch black elements, Leprous contributed to their evolution of Extreme Metal 2.0 by extreme versatile operratic, hardcore, black and normal vocals, various metal elements and daring compositioms.

The album is digestable for many metal music circles but also consummable by most progressive rock fans. Perfect vocal harmonies, energetic song parts and more traditionally sounding keyboards will certainly appeal to many of us. Tempo changes and unusual song structures keep attention throughout the entire album but are not too frequent so one keeps trace of which track is actually played.

I don't have any standout tracks to recommend since all are very much recommended. Fans of black metal might like "Not even a name" while "Fate" might be enjoyed by listeners who want accessible, melodic and light music ;-) "Tall Poppy Syndrome" bears little similarity to Opeth around the "Watershed" album with its dark riffs.

This album was a breathrough for the album and well deserved so since Norway has a foot firmly rooted in experimental metal since the 90's.

 Malina by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.04 | 201 ratings

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Malina
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Zitro
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The first [and hopefully not last] masterpiece from Leprous

Leprous with Malina have drastically changed their sound - they have introduced symphonic rock influences, added a violinist, and traded most of their heavy metal for either cinematic music and some mainstream rock & pop. The band fortunately retained and appeared to expand on their most distinct qualities, namely the complex syncopated rhythmic foundations, the soaring vocal melodies, and synthesizer usage. The colorful production paint vivid soundscapes and also bring accessibility to the compositions. In some ways, this album can be described as the non-metal twin of 'Bilateral', carrying variety, a sense of spontaneous fun with experimentation. What really elevates this album may be the emotion carried by the vocals and instrumentation during key moments.

The first song lays the foundation of the album and shows an increased emphasis on minimalistic ambient or jazzy passages with heaviness (not metal) placed at the right moments. 'Stuck' and 'From the Flame' are great compromises between the genres of pop and progressive rock - both have radio-worthy hooks of the highest caliber and in 4/4 but also include less traditional passages like the nintendo-like synthesizer + violin motif on 'Stuck' or the rhythmic complexity in 'From the Flame'.

Both 'Captive' and 'Illuminate' are based on complex staccato riffs with the former being hard-rock in nature and the latter more electronic and arguably compositionally superior and honestly quite addictive to put on repeat. Both carry strong vocal melodies, great usage of synthesizers, and moodier softer passages.

What is exciting is that despite these excellent songs, there is better to come. 'Leashes' unleashes exhilarating anthemic melodies. 'Mirage' is a multifaceted masterful progressive rock composition, replete with odd time signatures, synthesizer, contrasting half-time metal riffs in bass guitar, some amazing vocal performances, and a very heavy and fast-paced finale.

Even better is the title track 'Malina' - a hypnotic keyboard loop and restrained classical music instrumentation. This is very cinematic and stir heavy emotions from all its elements, matching the hopelessness of the lyrics. The explosion in emotion when the staccato guitars and drums enter the scene is soul crushing, yet the repetition of the main theme on the last minutes are equally moving. It is frankly put, one of the best depictions of depression put to music I have heard. 'The Last Milestone' comes close to this level, limiting the music to just a string ensemble and opera-like vocal acrobatics with a deeply melancholic tone, adding another excellent depiction of depression in music.

Other unmentioned tracks include the neurotic fast-paced syncopated rhythms of 'Coma' and the heavier, bass-driven epic 'Weight of Disaster' that has a sound closer to the previous album..

4.5 to 5 star songs: *Illuminations*,*Leashes*,*Mirage*,*Malina*,*The Last Milestone*, Bonneville, Stuck, From the Flame, Captive 4 star songs: Coma, The Weight of Disaster 3.5 and below star songs: None

 The Congregation by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.07 | 486 ratings

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The Congregation
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Zitro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4 1/3 star album

Immaculate, Strict, Calculated Songwriting with Consistently Monochromatic Sound

With 'Congregation' it appears clear Leprous distanced itself from several characteristics of progressive rock. The album is less spontaneous, no songs exceed 8 minutes, and there is a lost sense of musical exploration - focusing instead on maintaining a grey-scale mood throughout and blending metal influences with alternative rock. The emphasis is on vocal hooks and a relatively frequent usage of rhythmically complex riffs. This approach makes this album more accessible than earlier albums as a listener does not have to process dramatically different styles of music. On the other hand, this approach is not preferred when an album is 11-songs long - the songs start blending in and become harder to tell apart. This is the one album where I feel the sum of the parts works better than the whole and no particular song order is necessary. If you enjoy a song or two in youtube/spotify from this album, it is very likely you will enjoy nearly all others.

Also note - there are 2 songs that have an entire section sang with harsh vocals. The ratio of harsh to clean vocals continue decreasing.

Describing songs by track would be redundant given the many similarities among them. Expect unorthodox rhythmic guitars in many of these songs. Expect computerized keyboards to make an occasional presence during both upbeat and haunting sections alike - these synthesizers continue fitting in unusually well and I welcome their presence. Expect the drumming to be rawer and more tribal in nature. Definitively expect even catchier earworms compared to previous albums as they are not any more an element to their music - they songs are written around them. If there is one song that sounds noticeably different than the rest, it is the very effective minimalistic closing track 'Lower'.

What kind of highlights should you expect? 'The Price' has highly intricate soft musicianship preceding the insanely catchy alternative rock choruses. 'Third Law' showcases high-pitch metal singing. 'Rewind' expertly blends in desperately fast bass, drums, and vocals with a hauntingly slow synthesizer theme, then builds and builds until it explores a death metal section that is suitable heavy for the agony displayed by the harsh vocals. 'The Flood' uses a 2-note riff (synth or distorted guitar) to build up anticipation towards much more interesting musical passages. It is not a surprise this is a fan favorite song given the strength of the vocal melodies and especially that mesmerizing and triumphant climax. Speaking of 'Triumphant', the tribal rhythm, memorable guitar and vocal themes work together to the closest they might ever come to a sing along tune. 'Red' makes the best usage of computerized synths, mind-bogglingly complex rhythmic foundations, and a hypnotic feel. It is easily my favorite track in this album and among my favorite songs of the genre. 'Slave' is a bleak song and recalls the nightmareish qualities of their previous album 'Coal', but retaining the stronger melody writing of this album. Harsh vocals make a presence, but are brief. Moon's varied percussion works really well at setting the mood, particularly the masterful second half utilizing the buildup compositional elements of their previous album with expertise. The soundscapes continue being larger in scope with 'Down' though may not be as climatic to the album as a song like 'Rewind' or 'The Flood' is. The last song is a minimalistic ending.

It is difficult for me to determine whether the fairly monotonous structure and mood of the album is a strength or a weakness, or both. What the band has accomplished is a consistent set of high quality tracks that get burned into my memory.

4.5 to 5 star songs: *Red*, Triumphant, Moon, The Flood, Rewind 3.5 to 4 star songs: The Price, Third Law, Slave, Down, Lower 2.5 to 3 star songs: Within the Fence

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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