Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Leprous - Coal (Album Review)



Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 20/5/2013
Label : InsideOut Music

 Coal, album track listing:

1. Foe (5:17)
2. Chronic (7:19)
3. Coal (6:50)
4. The Cloak (4:09)
5. The Valley (8:59)
6. Salt (4:30)
7. Echo (9:41)
8. Contaminate Me (9:04)

Bio:

Chosen as backing band for former Emperor frontman and countryman Ihsahn - a progressive black metal musician / legend in his own right, LEPROUS has despite their young age tried it all, and it’sno surprise that their music reflects that. For every part Pain Of Salvation and King Crimson onemay hear, there is an equal amount of Shining (NO) or Devin Townsend to balance it out. Hints of Katatonia or Opeth float around amidst sparks of Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd.

The absolute pinnacle of their career, this far, is however “Coal” – the brand new album which willbe released on May 20th, 2013 in Europe and May 28th, 2013 in North America via InsideOutMusic.“Coal” was produced by Heidi Solberg Tveitan and Vegard Tveitan of Mnemosyne together with LEPROUS and mixed by Jens Bogren as well as mastered by Tony Lindgren at Fascination Street Studios (Kreator, Opeth, Symphony X; etc.).

Line-up:
Einar Solberg - synth/vocals
Tor Oddmund Suhrke - guitar
Øystein Landsverk - guitar
Tobias Ørnes Andersen - drums

Review:

Coal is the fourth album from Norwegian progressive metal outfit, Leprous. Their new long player is a monster of a record.

Opening track ‘Foe’ builds an astounding amount of layers to the music whilst retaining an air of simplicity. The vocals on this track and throughout this album are very unique. The vocal range displayed is superb. Well controlled high pitched screams are mixed with anguish ridden growls to create a crushing, yet beautiful mix. It is this vibrancy and inimitable style that makes for such an exciting listen. The track closes with a repeated vocal harmony before crashing into second track; ‘Chronic.’

‘Chronic’ is a far more upbeat and heavy affair. The time changes are frequent and the 7 minute plus length is littered with down tuned riffs, odd time signatures and more stunning vocal work. One thing the band does well on ‘Chronic’ is to not go for the cliché solo at the end of the track. They tease it, and no doubt would produce some awesome fret board work, but it’s nice to not go for the easy option. Instead, the band opts for a punishing mix of distorted guitars, drum and synth.

The album continues in the same vein with the highly atmospheric and epic ‘The Valley.’ The band tips their collective hat to the modern metal landscape with a Ghost-esque introduction before some highly technical work from the rhythm section. An off beat rhythm is held together by a snare cymbal. The cymbal is then joined by the bass and more soaring, otherworldly vocals. This sounds like something that Iron Maiden could have used on Final Frontier. The track builds and builds, layer by layer again which just builds a tension akin to a can being shaken up. The wait ,for it to explode keeps you on a knife edge. When it does explode…it is phenomenal. A glorious last few minutes may well be one of the best sections of music I have heard this year.

‘Salt’ segues seamlessly from ‘The Valley’ and has an opening that has a West End musical feel. More glorious progressive sensibilities are explored before the first of two 9 minute plus tracks end the album with aplomb. ‘Echo’ is very progressive. The synths are laid on thick and mantra like vocals are surrounded by more devastating guitars.  Album closer, ‘Contaminate Me,’ is one of the heaviest things at work here. The vocals which include Ihsahn are a lot harsher and the band is a lot more destructive. They smash down anything in their path, which almost feels like a full album of pent up anger being unleashed in one fell swoop. It’s an awesome way to end a great record.

Coal is an album that could take a few listens, but be warned, if you get dragged in, you will be hooked. My advice; get dragged in. The ride is immense. This is one of the best pieces of progressive metal around at the moment.

Words by: Dominic Walsh (twitter.com/bwfcdom83)

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links.  You can buy the record here. This record is available now. Thanks to Freddie @ InsideOut for hooking us up

www.youtube.com/leprouschannel

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