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Leprous: The Congregation

Though they first gained prominence as the backing band to Emperor legend Ihsahn, Norwegian progressive metal act Leprous have slowly made a name for themselves all on their own. Their latest release on InsideOut Records, titled The Congregation, was once again mixed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street studios, and continues their breathtaking ride to the top of the prog-metal mountain. Relying more on textures, melodies, and emotion rather than relentless burst of musical virtuosity, The Congregation is a fascinating listen from start to finish, bubbling with addicting passages of atmosphere, just the right amount of heaviness, and Einar Solberg's intoxicating vocal delivery.

Let's be clear; Solberg is an exceptional singer with uncanny range and emotion. Just listen to him soaring to the heavens on the stunning "Third Law", a dramatic, symphonic slice of progressive metal that focuses not only on the vocals, but complex rhythms, crisp guitar riffs, and atmospheric keyboards. "Rewind" reminds of a more aggressive Anathema in spots (love those spooky keyboards), as does the moody "The Flood" with its uncanny vocals, bleak melodies, and dark riffs. "Triumphant" seems like the bands proggy take on early '80s hard rock (Moving Pictures era Rush perhaps?), while "Within My Fence" sports metallic riffs and quirky rhythms for one of The Congragation's more upbeat tracks. For some really heavy moments, check out parts of "Red" to hear Tor Oddmund Suhrke & ōystein Landsverk really lending some crushing riffs in what is otherwise a somber, atmospheric rocker. Those alluring vocal harmonies grab your heart throughout "Moon", and again, I can't help but be reminded of the wonderful recent work of Anathema here, as well as on the emotional "Lower". Just beautiful stuff. For some complex, heavy prog, make sure you check out "Down", a real exciting piece that shows the dexterity of the rhythm team of Baard Kolstad (drums) and Martin Skrebergene (bass).

Overall, The Congregation is a varied, impressive collection of songs that shows Leprous evolving into much more of a mature and polished band than we first saw a few years ago when they initially burst on the scene. If this will be your first exposure to the band, you've come on board at the right time.

Track Listing
1. The Price
2. Third Law
3. Rewind
4. The Flood
5. Triumphant
6. Within My Fence
7. Red
8. Slave
9. Moon
10. Down
11. Lower
Bonus Track (on CD and LP only)
12. Pixel

Added: July 2nd 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 4353
Language: english

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Leprous: The Congregation
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-07-02 16:11:19
My Score:

Leprous is a progressive metal band from Norway having formed in 2001. It took a few years but the band made an impressive musical statement with their debut full length album Tall Poppy Syndrome, released in 2009. That is an excellent disc as are Bilateral (2011) and Coal (2013).

Through the years the band has had its share of lineup changes and on their latest album The Congregation the players are:

Einar Solberg (vocals, keyboards)
Tor Oddmund Suhrke (guitars)
ōystein Landsverk (guitars)
Baard Kolstad (drums)
Simen BÝrven (bass)

Right from their first album it has been difficult pigeonholing Leprous's music as it incorporates so many different styles and themes, from intense progressive metal to more atmospheric aesthetics. Odd tempo changes and thematic shifts has always been the motus operandi for the band and The Congregation continues that trend and although it doesn't venture as far into left field as say, the Bilateral album, it is perhaps their strongest effort to date.

Beginning with the excellent single "The Price" and its heavily syncopated guitar and drums, addictive chorus and off kilter rhythms, there are no bad tracks here. The excellence continues with "Third Law" and its wonderful Bellamy-like vocals while "Rewind" is another riff based gem.

Keyboards are used to great effect in the moody "Red" where the soundscape slowly builds into dramatic rhythmic intensity as it does in "Slave", featuring Solberg's dynamic vocal arrangement venturing into more intense growling at times.

One of my favourites is "The Flood" highlighted by a subdued atmospheric intro leading into cool electronic edged riffs. The pulsing heartbeat-like guitar coursing through the tune's entire length is the glue that keeps it all together.

Leprous has made their most mature and melodic album to date with The Congregation. It would seem the sky is the limit for these stellar Norwegian musicians and I for one cannot wait to hear what they come up with next. An InsideOut Music production.

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