LEPROUS – BILATERAL
After the generally well-received ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’, this third release from progressive youngsters Leprous is a step in the right direction. As ambitious as their predecessor may have been, the five-piece are yet again emphasising an inclusive, open-minded mentality that makes this record wick with the kind of diversity that tentatively avoids any over-indulgent, proggy saturation.
The Norwegians might be more commonly known for bringing the work of Ihsahn to the live stage by providing full backing band for the veteran musician, but it’s their independent merit that should be praised.
If you’re looking for a cheap, dirty description to quench the thirst of your curiosity, think – Opeth in a gang-bang with Blind Guardian and The Mars Volta while Muse shoot their epic muck in the corner. There’s certainly some influence from the latter three in the sheer, melodic intensity of vocal harmonisations and tendency for bigger, symphonic sound-scapes. Opening title track ‘Bilateral’ will confirm this immediately but there’s a twist of sporadically placed riffs and a pulsating electro heart beating in unison. It’s also worth noting that it’s probably no coincidence that artist Jeff Jordan did the dazzling artwork for the record – the same man who designed The Mars Volta’s ‘Amputechture’.
But this isn’t Volta worshipping. There’s even a tad inclusion of metalcore with bizarre Enter Shikari-esque electronica to match (see ‘Forced Entry’) but it’s not with similar adolescent whining – Leprous are in confident command of their concepts and fundamentally their instruments too.
‘Mb Differentia’ involves guitar lines to a shoegazy, dreamy effect – not submerged in the mix but just carefully making its presence known before a huge crescendo explodes well past the four-minute mark. Well worth the wait for sure. ‘Cryptogenic Desires’ begins just how you would imagine a song of its title to – technically, with math time signature and “djenty” riffery – progressing this into verses with a blossom of quirky piano. Leprous are definitely making the right ripples in a vast ocean of experimentalism.
Reviewed by Calum Robson for Soundshock.com
‘Bilateral’ is out on August 22nd on Inside Out.
You’ll like this if… you don’t narrowly envisage your prog to fit specific 70’s parameters and have assigned The Mars Volta with ‘legend’ status.