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Leprous: Pitfalls

My first encounter with Leprous, a band initially known for being the musicians behind ex-Emperor man Ihsahn, was their seminal Coal release. This Norwegian progressive metal outfit crafting an expansive, shimmering but aggressive album that could in the space of a few second remind of everything from Marillion and Porcupine Tree to Opeth and Haken.

Pitfalls is the third album since that genre crushing breakthrough and in truth, what has come in-between has found Leprous seemingly struggle to work out exactly where they should be headed. Both Malina and The Congregation felt more like a dilution of the heavier attack that had previously been such a potent outlet for this outfit, although with the drama ramped up there’s no denying that both outings had their moments. Unsurprisingly Pitfalls very much feels like the next step down that path, synth-strings just as strong a focus across this album as the guitars from Tor Oddmund Suhrke and Robin Ognedal ever are. Undeniably, parallels can be drawn with this journey and that of Black Metal masters Opeth, the latter at first augmenting their heavy beginnings with more overtly progressive strokes, before basically replacing them completely with a smoothly melodic prog outlook that has seen them soar in people’s affections.

With the voice of Einar Solberg utterly vital to everything this band do, his strong but brittle clarity rings right through the more guitar focused opener “Below”, which hints towards the Leprous of old but then the clipped pop tones and beats of “I Lose Hope”, if anything, sounds like a Killers/Muse hybrid with a more classical bent. Drama again seems to be the key focus, with the slow, patience of “Distant Bells” sounding like something from the stark Hogarth-Barbieri collaboration, where electronic clicks of percussion bounce off the classical aspects and Solberg’s enigmatic voice. However, on this occasion, for all the shimmering atmosphere created, what’s lacking is enough energetic pay-offs such as the short “Foreigner”, or soaring “Alleviate”, to add an all important counterpoint; too much of Pitfalls happy to regale you with the same emotion over and over again. It doesn’t make for a bad album, rather one lacking in the dynamics that Leprous have previously had their disposal, which to me makes an undoubtedly classy set of songs much less memorable than they aught to be.

Track Listing
1. Below
2. I Lose Hope
3. Observe The Train
4. Be My Throne
5. Alleviate
6. At The Bottom
7. Distant Bells
8. Foreigner
9. The Sky Is Red
10. Golden Prayers (Bonus Track)
11. Angel (Bonus Track)

Added: October 28th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Leprous online
Hits: 1080
Language: english

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