Leprous is a Norwegian progressive/avant-garde metal band with an impressive track record. They have released three studio albums and they served as Ihsahn‘s backing band while supporting his After record. “Bilateral” is the title of their fourth musical instalment, so let’s see what it has offer.
“Bilateral” is a very ambitious record which covers a whole range of different genres and moods. It shares the same free-spirited approach to music as their peers in Arcturus, Age Of Silence and Ulver, although Leprous has their own distinctive sound. The album’s longest track, ‘Forced Entry’, is the perfect indicator for what “Bilateral” has to offer. It contains elements from jazz, seventies prog rock in the vein of Pink Floyd up to Meshuggah styled polyrhythms. It’s very interesting mash-up of different styles. It flows in a completely in an uncanny natural fashion.
The band’s tour with Ihsahn hasn’t gone unnoticed on ‘Thorn’ and ‘Waste Of Air’. The former features some guest vocals by Ihsahn himself and saxophone part and the latter shares the same eerie blackish atmosphere as ‘Frozen Lakes On Mars’ on Ihsahn‘s last solo album. ‘Mediocrity Wins’, ‘Cryptogenic Desires’ and ‘Painful Detour’ have a more rock feel to them. Their eclectic and multi-layered approach reminds me a lot of the “Scarsick” album by Swedish progsters from Pain Of Salvation. Singer Einar Solberg has a very versatile set of pipes. He sounds like a cross-section of ICS Vortex (Borknagar) and Rikard Sjoblom (Beardfish)
The song material on “Bilateral” benefits greatly from the transparent, yet powerful sound produced by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia). The sound gives the album enough punch to support the metal parts, but it’s also supports and enhances the more delicate components of the songs.
“Bilateral” by Leprous is a wonderfully balanced and sophisticated blend of different musical styles, brought with a rare sense of confidence and accomplishment. After Wolverine‘s “Communication Lost”, Beardfish‘ “Mammoth” and Amplifier‘s “The Octopus”, my fourth prog rock/metal delight so far this year. Highly recommended!