Written By: Angry Metal Guy

Leprous is one of Norway’s finest acts and one of the excellent stable of modern prog bands that we have covered here at AMG in the last 5 or 6 years. In recent times, their profile has risen as their singular approach to progressive metal has inspired high praise from myself, Kronos, and the metal world at large. I adored Bilateral, but (as one might have expected, given AMG’s Law of Diminishing Recordings™) the band’s later material has been spottier. I did enjoy some of Coal—which featured one of my Songs o’ the Year—but I found 2015’s The Congregation to be difficult to enjoy. With time, Leprous has dialed down the heavier elements of their sound, developing a chorus heavy style that didn’t work for me on The Congregation. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got my hands on Malina. Was I hopeful? Not really. Was I surprised? Pleasantly.

Leprous doesn’t sound that much like a metal band in 2017. Scoff if you want, but the more I listen to Malina, the more I’ve come to accept that it’s a glitchy indie pop record. Malina sounds like Leprous made a super fucking weird Arctic Monkeys album; albeit infinitely more interesting than the aforementioned band of hyperborean simians. Rather than falling into the simplistic groove of a pop band, Leprous’ songs lilt along, with their trademark polyrhythmic glitch—or as my grandpa called it, “arrhythmia”—punctuating their songs. Malina hews to the arc of Leprous’ sound since Coal, playing heavily with syncopation in what would otherwise be straight time, and resting heavily on the voice and melodies of Einar “Fucking” Solberg to keep their songs memorable.

Calling Malina an indie-pop album is only a slight exaggeration for comic effect. The album’s tone is different from their earlier albums. The most obvious difference is the guitar sound, which is cleaner, brighter, and thinner. The intro to “Stuck,” an undeniably sticky song, features the bright—almost surfy—tone favored by dudes with mustaches, flannel shirts, and winter caps that only cover their bald spots (see: Beaten to Death). The bass and drums hold the album on the heavier side of the spectrum, fortunately, with the rhythm section eschewing minimalist tendencies and tone. Malina still has a heft to it that will translate well in the live setting. Moments like the bass slides on the title track are reminiscent of the title track off Coal, while “Coma” features a pummeling rhythm section topped by an ethereal vocal performance that could have passed on any of the band’s previous albums. But you’ll be unsurprised to know that the screams that accentuate “Coal” get nowhere near Malina. The rough edges have been hewn off, replaced with something that is unapologetically chill and groovy, though swelling and dark. There’s still something here which threatens to break loose, but it never does.

Yet, I think this is Leprous’ strongest work since Bilateral. The strength of Malina is carried in its songs. The songs have a high Rush Quotient™, hitting that elusive balance between catchy and proggy. Particularly effective is the band’s continued mastery of choruses—which tend toward epic and are always memorable. Songs like “From the Flame,” “Stuck,” “Coma,” and “Illuminate” are infectious. But Leprous doesn’t have the metalcore tendency of writing throwaway verses that are just foreplay to gaudy choruses. Malina’s songs feature sophisticated builds, savvy writing and subtle, haunting harmonies. None of what I’m describing cleaves far from Leprous’ beaten path, but Malina sees the intensity dialed back and a vision that is more circumspect. Rather than hitting hard, the tracks seethe along—“Bonneville” opens Malina at a crawl, while “The Last Milestone” is an orchestral dirge. The peaks and valleys have been replaced with beautiful, rolling foothills and foggy glens.

Malina will split fans, for sure, but I have trouble seeing how admirers of the band’s previous work won’t find something they like here. This album echoes Bilateral and Coal, even if it lacks the heft of a young Norwegian band’s developing sound. Malina is a poppier, simpler, more polished album than anything Leprous has produced. And maybe I’m just getting old like they are, but the slicker songs and their distinctive pop profile just seem to work for me.

Rating: Great
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: InsideOut Records
Websites: leprous.net | facebook.com/leprousband
Releases Worldwide: August 25th, 2017


Written By: Kronos

Though I gave it a favorable review, time has convinced me that Leprous‘ last album, The Congregation, just didn’t live up to the legacy of Bilateral and Coal. I had a few different reasons for not listening to it much after it came out; it was long, a bit too melodramatic, and it didn’t pack the same punch as the band’s earlier oeuvre. I’ve realized in time that most of these are a result of the same pernicious feature: choruses. Just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with a classic verse-chorus-verse format, and indeed, nothing wrong with a catchy chorus itself. The chorus becomes a problem when it’s overused as a tool or repeated ad nauseam. The Congregation was guilty of both. So is Malina.

Let’s start with an illustrative example, Malina‘s first single, “From the Flame.” A generous count has the chorus repeated four times – but each of those four times, the actual lyrics get repeated twice. So to me, already irritated again with the song’s bland lyrics, that’s eight repetitions. Keep in mind that “From the Flame” is three minutes and fifty-one seconds long. Sandwiched between those choruses — which are very catchy, and admittedly, I like them in small doses — are a really annoying synth lead what sounds like U2 learning about odd time. It’s obvious that Leprous aren’t trying to be a metal band anymore, which is fine1, but they could at least try to be an inventive band.

Now some of you may protest, “But Kronos! They are inventive! There are violins on this album.” Good point. Nobody ever thought to put strings on an album to artificially add drama before. Oh, and those strings do jack shit on Malina; they back up chords like in every other metal album ever. Only when the entire band dips and it’s just Einar and the strings — the beautiful-at-times “The Last Milestone” — do they play any substantive music. Of course, their part is nearly as over-the-top melodramatic as the singing. And on that matter, the singing on Malina is also a disappointment. Einar’s considerable talent and vocal range are not on full display here, and he leans far too heavily on his falsetto. This works in some of the album’s quieter moments, especially along the harmonics-littered groove that opens the album on “Bonneville,” but most of the time I’m left wanting a more powerful delivery.

To make matters worse, this album has, by my count, about one memorable riff, and it’s this terrible pop-punk thing from “Stuck.” I just hate it. Leprous had pop sensibility from the beginning, but this is just trash.

Malina isn’t a complete failure. The choruses are, for the most part, fun to sing along with, there are shots of dense syncopation typical of Leprous, and the songs don’t drag on for days like they did in The Congregation. What irks me most about Malina is that Leprous could have gone in two really cool directions with these ingredients. They could have made a really interesting, enjoyable pop record and transitioned their style with style. Prog rock/metal bands have done it before — see Octahedron. They also could have made an even more respectable avant-garde album. With all that melodrama, rhythmic adventurousness, and a string section behind them, they had just about every ingredient lined up for the Storm Corrosion follow up that I want but is never going to happen.

But Leprous didn’t attempt to do either of those things; they made this predictable, bathetic, milquetoast instead. Any good moments are undermined by repetition. The title track starts out as close to Storm Corrosion as the album comes, then ends by Einar singing the same two lines four times in a row, stretched across what feels like an eternity. The only good song is “Bonneville,” and the album has like forty or fifty minutes to go after that. Malina is pleasant to listen to in the background at times, it’s even passable if you pay attention to half a song, but when I really pick at it, when I stop making excuses for a band that has produced records that I really like, it reveals itself as just a sappy, catchy pop record with a few odd rhythms. Malina is gutless, pretentious, and boring, and I’m quite relieved to never have to hear it again.

Rating: 1.5/5.0


Show 1 footnote

  1. Not to mention predictable by Kronos‘ Law of Increasing Hippietude
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  • John Abraham

    Wtf?

  • Handy Donut Hole

    Choose your side! Will you go with the word of the legend himself or trust the opinion of the fiery Kronos?

    • wayne the devil

      Or-you can go your own waaaay….today is Skullmace day in Wayne’s world…

    • Half way, must said.

    • Iain Gleasure

      Just remember that Kronos has just returned from a Sabbatical. The next could be entirely non-suspicious.

  • Nathan McCain

    AMG lives! Just a ruthless smackdown from Kronos though, his review reads a notch or two lower. I think I’ll keep listening to Nile.

  • The Akerstache

    Ah, the legendary clash between pretentiousness and brutality that was foretold years ago has begun. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ad2ceeae82f166f80eb307ce5047c28487cfda28246bce45a2f45f6fac9808a8.gif

    • Iain Gleasure

      I think Gloryhammer already started guerrilla war between Druhm and AMG.

      • Nukenado

        Don’t you mean…
        A GORILLA WAR?! EH?!

        • Nukenado

          I’m sorry.

        • Kryopsis

          Stop with this monkey business!

          • Nukenado

            Never! My lawyers will back me up!

      • Yeah, the problems with gorillas, though, is their work ethic. The war never gets going because they’re too busy picking each other’s fleas.

  • RDP

    I wasn’t going to check out the singles to this album because I was disappointed with “The Congrgation.” Coal was one of my top albums of 2013. But I came across a single a couple weeks ago from Malina, and I was pleasantly surprised. While not at all heavy, and definitely a radio friendly sound, I found the song to be super catchy and enjoyable. Plus, Einar’s vocal performance will probably be considered one of the best this year.

  • Iain Gleasure

    So its either great or terrible based on your preference for Rush.

    In completely unrelated news, Kronos is forever banned from Canada.

    • Kronos

      Hey, I can really get down with some Chuck Mangione.

    • AndySynn

      When ARE you guys going to apologise for Bryan Adams?

      • Nukenado

        We have Voivod.

        • [not a Dr]

          AND Unexpect.

          • Nukenado

            They’re still a bit too tough for me to swallow.

          • Hammersmith

            And Archspire.

  • GardensTale

    Well shit! NOW what am I supposed to think?!

    • Nukenado

      Average it out to 2.75! It’s the only way to still believe!

      • PretentiousFuckwad

        Now now lest we fall prey to the middle ground fallacy, I think it better to assume the lord of anger himself has lost touch with reality due to sleep deprivation and a significant overabundance of ale.

        That being said, making this record o the year would be just the sort of spite I’d expect from a blog like this.

        • Nukenado

          Nah, he hasn’t really done that before.

          • PretentiousFuckwad

            Well now I’m disappointed.

            In all seriousness though, a little discourse on this blog is kind of nice. It would be a boring world if we agreed on everything.

          • Kronos

            I’d have noone to correct.

          • Nukenado

            Year end lists are always fun to complain about!
            If they arrive.

    • [not a Dr]

      Think? They don’t not-pay you to THINK!

    • jjohn

      Yeah it’s like they want us to listen on the albums ourselves and make our mind :p It’s crazy

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      It’s been on repeat all day.
      It’s more straight forward than the old stuff but it has some really great tunes.
      The classical out ro piece is sweet too.

      Me likey.

  • Shrümpelstiltskin

    Based off of the few songs they’ve released so far, I don’t think I’m gonna love this album, but I also don’t think I’m gonna hate it.

  • Dethjesta

    I am looking forward to hearing this at the weekend (have been for a while) but I’m really not sure what to think with such different opinions given here.

    The vast majority of the time I find that my musical opinions and preferences are rather closely aligned with that of AMG himself, especially on matters of Prog – this is a major reason why I connected with this site some years ago and why I still choose this site as my main portal for checking out music before buying or even listen at all (there is so much music and so little time).

    But, I do suspect from listening to the songs presently available from the new album and the reviews given here that I may be siding with Kronos on this one. Not that I don’t usually agree with Kronos’s reviews and critique, I do. It’s just not usually in the face of a contrasting opinion given by another reviewer whom opinion I hold in such high regard.

    I guess the answer is as AMG has stated “Malina will split fans, for sure”, just as it has here. Guess I’ll just have to wait until Friday to see which side I ultimately fall.

    Great writing guys.

    • John

      Exactly the same for me. I’ve generally agreed with AMG in enjoying the lighter side of rock, metal, and progressive albums, but this album is a big disappointment to me. I’m surprised by the score he gave.

      I’ve enjoyed plenty of bands that transitioned styles, but these songs are just….forgettable.

  • Maksym Nikitin

    talk about marketing genius. Now we absolutely have to hear it…

  • spheric666

    I am really, really sorry because I liked Tall Poppy Syndrome a lot and I ADORED Bilateral and there was a time Leprous were my favorite band, but they have been dead for a while now. Coal was passable and the Congregation just plain bad.
    To make things worse, while the first times I saw them live during the Poppy and Bilateral era they were absolutely brilliant and Einar was flawless, lately they have been disappointing. Einar seems to always have some voice problems – maybe the new chorus-based and vocals-focused style they play now puts more of a strain on him, I don’t know.
    5 years ago they looked like they were gonna be the next big, big thing in metal, unfortunately they sort of evaporated.

    • welyyt

      Me too; Bilateral is a complete masterpiece, and everything after was good with occasional flashes of brilliance. Malina follows the same path; it’s alright, boring at parts, occasionally exciting (I love From the Flame and Stuck), but this new direction isn’t bad because it’s not metal: it’s just not as interesting or innovative as the music that preceded it.

    • You have encapsulated EXACTLY how I feel about this band now. They have deteriorated into complete mediocrity at this point.

  • Huck N’ Roll

    I’m on Team Kronos here. This album is my “Disappointment o’ the Year.” There’s one good song on the entire thing.

    • Kronos

      And that song is…?

      • Huck N’ Roll

        Mirage. Bonneville is almost good as well.

        • Kronos

          I don’t even remember Mirage…

      • Huck N’ Roll

        Also I like to play The Last Milestone when I’m rolling the closing credits for a Lord of the Rings movie.

  • Scourge

    Haven’t listened to a millisecond of this (or any Leprous ever for that matter), but I will say I love that cover art!

    • David D.

      Leprous are totally worth your time. Both Bilateral and Coal are essential. Haven’t heard their debut but I’ve heard it’s also excellent.

  • welyyt

    IMHO the album is alright; catchy, saccharine, not amazing, not terrible. Hopefully it’ll grow on the fans who are ready to give it numerous listens, but it’s definitely a step down for the people who made, and excuse the language, fucking Bilateral.

    • numerous listens actually hurt this album, due to its intrinsic repetitiveness. there’s nothing hiding within, it’s all surface level shine.

    • Kronos

      Every minute I spent with this album made me like it less.

      • It was the opposite for me. Every listen made me like it more. I was initially underwhelmed, but I kept on coming right back to it. Those slow growers are the ones I continue to be suckers for years after the fact.

        • This! I wasn’t really impressed with the singles, now I actually really like them. It’s the same with the whole album, it opens up after a couple of listens. Will it reach Bilateral/Coal heights? Perhaps not, but it’s far from a 1.5.

  • Goldicot

    So what does AMG think of the new Pyrrhon record?

    • Kronos

      Album of the month for August. I won’t stand for another power metal / scooby doom record in that slot!

  • Matt slatz

    Uh oh Kronos, you very disagreed with the supreme leader….. To H.R., and clear your angry metal cubicle

  • I loved From the Flame (and most of the Congregation album), so I imagine I’ll like this as well.

  • Innit Bartender

    Radiohead vocals = deterrent.

  • The Unicorn

    Coal was amazing, as was Bilateral. They have lost their touch. ‘Tis a shame.

  • Zrinko Maloseja

    I was bored to death with everything after Bilateral. I REALLY wanted to like this. FML. Back to Thirteenth Sun …

    • GardensTale

      Good choice! UNIVERSAAAAL

    • inside_context

      Such a crying shame that these are the guys who wrote Bilateral…Bi-fkang-lateral!!

  • hallowed

    It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum… and I’m all outta gum.

  • Norfair Legend

    Have to say, I’m with AMG and not because I fear getting banned if I dissent. I’ve always had a spot for Leprous but it’s never been too intense. I’ve enjoyed a bit of everything they’ve put out but they’re never been an instant buy.

    The embedded song is good, has a nice feel to it and doesn’t sound forced. I’ll be picking this up.

  • Rodrigo D.C.

    I am tracking down “I’m with AMG” and “I’m with Kronos” comments.
    I will decide if I listen to this record according to who win.
    Because I don’t think for myself anymore.

    • sir_c

      you’re a millennial I presume?

      • Rodrigo D.C.

        I can tell I was at Rock in Rio 2001 when Iron Maiden record that DVD. So, I’m not that young.
        Of course I can make my own choices… sometimes!

        • Kronos

          Kronos is winning but you should give it a shot anyway. After all, AMG and you both seem to love Maiden.

          • Rodrigo D.C.

            Just listened to 3 songs.
            I can’t say I’m with you, Kronos, ’cause 1.5 is a too low.
            But definitely I’m NOT with AMG, also.
            I’d rate it 2.5.

            Sorry my ESL.

          • Diego Molero

            Are you saying you don’t love Maiden? Is that a thing?

          • Kronos

            Not nearly as much as a guy who bled 10,000 words or so about the band before their last album.

          • Diego Molero

            Ohh, that’s different. I don’t think I have ever heard/read the words “I don’t like Iron Maiden” from any metalhead, so I was confused for a second there.

        • RuySan

          You could have been at that concert and still be a millennial…

          • Rodrigo D.C.

            You’re right!
            I was born in the late 70s.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.

  • JMoherPerc

    I’ve only yet been able to hear the promo tracks but my overall impression of them is that they’re some of the band’s best work.

    I’m with AMG, here.

  • sir_c

    Mmm tried to listen to some tracks on YT, but so far it did not land. Even though the songs may have a lot of activity, it doesn’t sound like there is a lot going on. Maybe I’ll try later but for now it is a meh.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    From the samples I’ve listened to, I tend to be more on the Kronos side of the issue, sadly…

  • Malhorne

    That is how it is supposed to be, ruthless and brutal, seems like Kronos won just by how brutal this thread is

  • Me

    You don’t have a name like Leprous and NOT be metal. I don’t care how pretty they are. Leprous does not yell boy band.

    • sir_c

      The problem with leprous is that eventually all interesting bits have fallen off.

      • Kronos

        Why didn’t I think of this?

  • Kosher Warrior

    Haven’t heard it yet. I guess I should hope it’s great but be ready for a 1.5?

  • Planex

    Imagine Kronos’s reaction when this gets ROTM

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Haha
      Was going to make same comment

    • Nick Maestas

      He’ll probably throw up with AMG maniacally laughing in the background

    • At this point I’m tempted to do it just to troll.

  • Sak Band

    I’m with AMG on this one. Loved them on Tall Poppy Syndrome, less on Bilateral and started to lose my interest with Coal due to its minimalism and repetitiveness. But I loved Congregation and Malina seems to me a natural continuation of their sound, albeit much less metal. Btw The Last Milestone is amazing.

  • AndySynn

    I’m with AMG on this one.

    I don’t mind that it’s poppy – it’s still proggy and interesting and really well put together.

    I HAVE SPOKEN!!!

  • Nick Maestas

    That singer reminds of the Fall Out Boy singer. SHITTY FALL OUT BOY SINGER. Damnit AMG if this makes it to your Record of the month I am cancelling my subscription I never subscribed to! And then I’ll still be around to read more reviews damnit cause that’s what men do.

    • TheCurlyMetalhead

      duuude, Einar is better in every way imaginable than the FOB singer, check out older Leprous albums if this one didnt prove my point. He does have a specific voice which isnt for everyone

      • Nick Maestas

        I’ll check out more, the song on the record was the only one I’ve heard from them so I definitely gotta hear more stuff

  • I.B. Hurtin

    I have a high tolerance for male falsettos but 45 seconds of this song makes me want to punch the band in their hipster pie holes. I know that only one dude is singing but all of them need a beating for allowing him to sing.

  • Lou Daz

    I’m on Team Kronos. I can get down with prog rock and metal, but this stuff isn’t clicking with me.

  • I’ve never gotten into Leprous. I always found them rather dull and lacking in memorability. The embedded track is alright, if a little vanilla.

  • Mollusc

    From what I’ve heard, Illuminate has interesting drums (and drum sound) and syncopations. I don’t ever want to hear the chorus of From the Flame ever again. Scores somewhere in the middle based on that sample.

    • Mollusc

      PS it’s sweet that they’ve got a song about British actor Hugh Bonneville. He’s a NICE man.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Leprous could fart for 30 mins and i’d love it.

    • You, sir, are in for a treat!

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        I grew up a huge AHA fan….especially Morten Harket.
        The falsetto vocals on this new album remind me a lot of Morten.
        Same reason I love Voyager……love the retro vibe in the vocals and massive choruses.
        From the singles I can tell Malina has that in spades.
        So I overwhelming agree with your score and expect this album to stay long in circulation on my ipod along with Ghost Mile.

        • John

          I really enjoy all of Leprous’ previous albums, but don’t get your hopes up too high with this one. The singles are my favorite songs from the album.

          Ghost Mile I enjoyed much more on the first few spins and I believe it is a much more exciting, interesting, and varied album in comparison to Malina.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            I agree this is as straightforward as Leprous have ever sounded….not much prog or deviation from the script on this one.
            Having said that I’m still enjoying it for what it is….a mediocre Leprous album is still better than a lot of stuff I’ve heard recently.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Geez. …Illuminate alone is worth purchasing this album.
    Song of the year IMHO
    (Is my fan boy showing?)

  • iiixf

    OT: Malina (yeah, I just found it’s a Nordic female name) is Polish for “raspberry”, so maybe calling their album this way the band were hinting at heading towards musical razzie awards?

  • Shawn Cypher

    Listened to sample, feel like I’m Team Kronos.

    Not impressed at all really. Especially didn’t like the vocals.

  • Kronos

    That video reminds me; the last Dodeachedron album was fantastic.

    • SlapDatAss

      Kronos it’s really great to have you back!
      Keep up the superb reviews!

      • Kronos

        Thanks!

  • Gage

    I’m with Kronos on this one. I’ve never hated or loved Leprous but this shit is awful. Those fucking vocals man… I just can’t

  • Lithophyte

    Have listened to the two songs so far available. Agree with AMG’s description of the record. They sound like the final outing from Australian band Sydonia, who broke up earlier this year. Would be great live, but it’s edgy indie pop with complex time signatures played into a straightforward beat.

    Have sympathy for Kronos’ view – the avant-garde version, please.

  • a glass o’ milk

    I actually think this album sits comfortably in between. It’s neither extraordinarily bad nor outstandingly good. It has its moments but falls flat towards its backend.

  • SloRED

    This is like Soen. Only bad. Feel bad for insulting the Angry Metal God. But alas, I hate this.

  • Tofu muncher

    gonna stick to their previous work, thanks.

  • A Feed From Cloud Mountain

    I listened to From The Flame last night and based solely on that experience, I’m firmly within the Kronos camp on this one.

    The double review idea is good as well, wouldn’t mind seeing it more often if the workloads and brvtal overseers allow.

  • Jan Vandenrul

    *Pukes*
    I’m with Kronos.
    First comment here after about a year of daily reading this here blog, lots of great finds, lots of out-loud-laughs prompting weird looks. Thanks for that!

    • Kronos

      Thanks for your dedicated reading!

  • Don C

    I’m going to listen to the album, but the preview tracks all sounded like a shitty version of Agent Fresco.

  • jersey devil

    This is not metal. And I hate it, but not because its not metal. Because its crappy sappy pop. Get it away, away!

  • tomasjacobi

    I’m with AMG on this one. It’s a great album and even though I’ve only had it since yesterday I’ve managed to like it even better with each play through.

    But I must say that I also enjoyed reading Kronos’ review. He’s obviously wrong, but he does a nice job explaining why he doesn’t like it.
    Also, he’s wrong.

  • Apple Tree

    ehhhh, gotta side with kronos on this one. a bit too poppy and structured for my tastes. i prefer my prog as prog as possible in every sense of the word, and this just doesnt do it for me

  • lrn2swim

    Holy shit, this album is glorious. AOTY material. AMG corner I am in.

  • Andres Pintos Nocerino

    is it the future of heavy metal?

    • lrn2swim

      No, it’s not metal. Not trying to be.

  • Slam Grandpa

    The amount of diverse opinion for this album… I’m on AMG’s side, I’m sorry Kronos but your opinions and rating for this album have disappointed this old man who is a fellow Canadian… DISAPPOINTED

  • naoto

    Mature and atmospheric. A bit overproduced, maybe, but is still part of their approach. Fantastic vocals and keyboards driving prog rock towards new territories. Agree with the first review. Their best since Bilateral.

    • lrn2swim

      Coal is probably my favorite still, but this one might be close. Agree with what you said, don’t think it’s overproduced though. That’s part of what makes it so good, sounds freaking amazing.

  • Bryan Stroup

    I’m still going to listen to the album a few times and see for myself. Bilateral seemed like an outlier though, since the followup albums were nowhere near as interesting to me, despite having a few standout songs. It’s actually not hard for me to imagine being more bored with this album than I was with The Congregation (which had two standouts).

  • This is my first Leprous album, it doesn’t sound anything like Rush (which I love) to me, reminds me of Radiohead a lot. Allso, I got a 6 for DR from my FLAC files… not that it really matters.

    • Kronos

      MP3s usually show a slightly higher DR measurement than lossless flies, so that’s not surprising. One of the caveats of the measurement is that it isn’t directly comparable across formats.

      • I actually did not know that, I always thought DR was diminished when converting to MP3… thanks Kronos!

        • Kronos

          Metal-Fi had a good article on this. I’d link you to it but I’m commenting from a phone.

  • Name’s Dalton

    That Express Men’s ad in the middle of the review was pretty snazzy.

  • Man, this sounds like what Closure in Moscow could have been if they hadn’t gone all weird with their second album…

  • Alejandro Menéndez

    Boring Boring!! But… why people hate Congregation? Is not their best jb but “Rewind” is and will be one of my favourite songs of all time!!

  • Dr. Wvrm

    Goddammit guys, use more than two riffs per song.

    #teamkronos

  • I never liked these guys. TEAM STEEL!!

  • John

    This was my second most anticipated album behind Caligula’s Horse, but I’m actually pretty disappointed overall. I don’t mind style changes, and I actually liked The Congregation the most out of all the Leprous albums (all of which I range from liking a lot to loving), but this just doesn’t do it for me.

    The two singles are pretty catchy and I enjoy singing along with them, but after having heard the other songs, most are rather dull and not even catchy. I feel bad for guitarist and see why the one left the band. They hardly get to do anything on the album!

    I’m really hoping that it’s a grower, as most their albums are, but I think I am close to 100% certain that this will be by far my least favorite album by them.

    • Kronos

      I like the new Caligula’s Horse album a lot better – they take some risks and it pays off.

  • I don’t hate it, but I want to like it much more than I do. Has it moments, though. I do miss the heaviness. The clean, twangy guitar sound gets on my nerves after about 3 straight songs of it.

  • Thatguy

    I’m back too…

    Beautifully played and produced pop metal. And the name of this album is one vowel from being truly a very messy mistake.

  • It seems that every time an album disappoints long time fans, I like a band more. Based on just the three singles released so far, I’m finding this album more appealing than their previous albums, which always seemed a bit tedious and expressively monochromatic, making their albums feel like these gray, shapeless blobs of prog wank that didn’t really have much direction to it. This new album is shaping up to be way more memorable and fluidly composed and I’m thinking of buying it. There are more important albums for me to get, but that I’m even considering getting a Leprous album was unexpected.

  • hardysponge

    Somewhere between Muse, poppier Rush and Alt-J. Quite like it.

  • geddy76

    I think it’s a great record. I don’t care that they aren’t doing what they ‘should be doing’. I like what they did before and I just happen to like what they are doing now.

  • Stephen Collis

    best album of 2017 in my book… dunno if leprous would’ve ever fallen into metal genre

  • Gaynebula

    Ugh that embedded track… Such a frustrating listen! It has the leprous sound and aesthetic I adored in Coal and Bilateral but… It’s missing everything else about them I loved. The falsetto now feels gimmicky, the instrumentation is repetitive and whiny… Where the hell is the heavy crunch?! (Inb4 ‘It doesn’t have to be heavy to be good!’ I know full well, but the heaviness was a massive part of the soaring emotion and atmosphere of Leprous’ coal+bilateral sound.)

    I’ll give this a chance, but considering how underwhelmed I also was with The Congregation, Leprous might be dead to me now. A shame, a real damned shame. I’m hoping it’s just a two-album dormancy period.

  • Dean

    Team AMG here. Call me crazy, but I love it. I think they actually cut out a lot of the repetition that went on in “Coal” and “The Congregation.” Which actually worked in a way. Yep, I miss the heavier guitar tone and more complex arrangements, but what they’re doing now totally works. Kind of how Anathema went through their transition. I can go back and listen to the heavier stuff but still enjoy the newer direction just as much. There are few bands that can pull off such a radical change in sound (see Opeth), but these guys nailed it. And “Mirage” is brilliant.

  • Thais Munk

    Heh. I think I get why both reviewers wrote what they wrote. I’ve been listening to some of the album on YouTube and it…is certainly interesting. I just might buy it because I like what I’ve heard so far.

  • Baltech

    Going into this with trepidation, I’m coming down clearly on Mr. AMG’s side here. This is one catchy mofo of a record.

  • i agree with Kronos.

  • Joshua DeSimone

    I have been obsessed with this group since TPS and this album, for me, is another masterpiece only outdone by Bilateral(you can’t beat that album). Do I miss the metal vocals thrown in? Yes. But the music is too frigan good to not enjoy. I’m really not sure what people expect from this band anymore. Bilateral, while a masterpiece, absolutely features the so called “Pop Metal” throughout. It’s the perception that it isn’t somehow that makes you see it as not.

    If you read the Chronos review and say “Hmmm, now I’m worried….” you’ve already clouded what the album will say to you. This is why I stay away from reviews. They’re worth absolutely nothing. The only reason I checked this out was because somebody on Amazon mentioned there had been negative reviews while everyone who’s already purchased the album(myself included) on Amazon has left a 5 star review and I was curious. Go figure.

  • TheChronosus

    Well Kronos, I gave you benefit of a doubt. I waited, listened to the album, listened to it again… and now it’s been a month and I’m still coming back to the album every few days, having actually forgotten about your “old metal man” ramblings. Today something reminded me, so I decided to come back to tell: what the hell are you on about?

    Counting choruses and lyrics repetitions as an argument against quality of an album? And then addition of violins? If you haven’t made such a big point out of it I wouldn’t have even noticed their addition (and I wouldn’t swear there weren’t any on previous albums). Is this a review of new phone and we’re testing new features?

    Yep, they lost the metal sound completely and went to more modern sound (I would dare to say that Muse eyes this kind of sound on recent albums) dynamics are still here and there’s plenty of depth to the music. I went to Bilateral to refresh my memory and I wouldn’t say for example Restless would me instrumentaly too out of the place on Malina.

    But what struck me is how much difference I heard in Einar. And now I think that he’s the main culprit of why they’ve apparently lost their energy. Again – Restless… He goes from clean (but without that back of the throat whailing he does regularly now), to some kind of gurgly and then to screaming in that one song. Now all he does is some kind of operatic clean singing with almost-falsetto inserted here and there. He used to be the biggest asset to Leprous – energic, wild and experimental, now he sounds sorowful most of the time with little to no dynamics. His phrasing is similar, doesn’t matter if music is slow or fast. And I really didn’t think I would ever say this, but after listening the album from beggining to the end this gets kind of annoying.

    The guy that doesn’t get enough recognition is the “new” drummer. Man, he’s constantly killing it, song Malina especially. And then that little part where he recreates main riff in Illuminate… Killer.
    I’ve seen them live couple of months ago, they weren’t much to look at – except the drummer. Energy to cover for the whole band (they even put him on the far right of the stage).

    So yeah, reading your review I thought they went the Orphaned Land route, but that couldn’t be farther from truth. That dubious honor goes to the Steven Wilson this year. And please, find me a commercial pop station that would gladly play this “pop” record.

    Your review gets 1,5. Nonsensical, pretentious and has violins in it.

    • Kronos

      I think you’ve misunderstood my review a bit. As for counting the choruses, that was too illustrate their overuse. I could have merely said “I find these songs too repetitive” but I chose to illustrate that fact by spelling out the repetitive structure. As to the strings, I agree they’re not very noticeable and basically say as much in the review. My point was that the band was once innovative and had now incorporated cliches rather than doing something interesting.
      I do agree that Einar doesn’t do the band many favors here – also in the review.

      • TheChronosus

        To my ears, this still sounds like Leprous despite change of sound. It’s less metal for sure but song structures are still decidedly Leprous and I honestly don’t hear too much cliches – I suppose we’re back at the violins again.

        On the other hand Hakens latest got all the praise but all they did is emulated 80s sound and took references from that era to the point where you can sing “Owner of the lonely hearts” over opening riff of 1985, and there are a lot of familiar riffs all over the place.

        I sincerely find this easily their more consistent record since Bilateral and the change of tone from relentlessly remorseful as they were on the last two albums to something more positive and upbeat, which actually makes me enjoy Congregation a little more now I know that won’t be their path going forwards.

        Bottom line: this objectively isn’t the terrible album, it’s full of catchy and interesting music with little to no self reference. I feel ike you gave it 1,5 just to balance out the AMG’s positive review. In any case, you failed to judge the album on it’s own merits and went with “what I think the album should have been” argument. In the process you might have put off some people of giving it a chance which is definitely deserves. For me that’s a mark of a bad review.

        • Kronos

          I can’t deny your take, though I will say I didn’t write anything in this review that I wouldn’t still say about this album. I did not know what AMG’s score was until the review went live. You mention this album being not “objectively” bad, and this I will also point you towards this article
          http://www.angrymetalguy.com/angry-metal-guy-speaks-on-objectivity/

  • Ahmed Sami Nassar

    My first leprous album was coal but the congregation is the one that I stuck with as it was different from other prog stuff (plus for a while it was one of the 4 albums I had on my iphone when I lost my all my other music) and Malina follows the same direction in principle but simply put is catchier, faster (doesn’t take as long to build up) and a bit more colorful.
    Now I listened to bilateral for the first time and I can see why people would be disappointed if that was what they liked and expected.
    More me overall 3.5, a good one.