Leprous - The Congregation review


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Band: Leprous
Album: The Congregation
Release date: May 2015

01. The Price
02. Third Law
03. Rewind
04. The Flood
05. Triumphant
06. Within My Fence
07. Red
08. Slave
09. Moon
10. Down
11. Lower
12. Pixel [Mediabook / LP bonus]

It would be unlike Leprous to exercise restraint to the point of diminishment and place limitations on fresh efforts. Nonetheless, The Congregation is a compromise.

It's safe to say that all bands eventually reach stagnation, some for reasons of creativity waning, fading relevance and taking a style to its end. Such an end has yet to find Norway's Leprous, who seem to run on continual inspiration with ideas in progressive metal that are never out of reach or beyond their means. Further efforts in another record only affirm an admirable quality of the outfit; that they are innately immune from that which would kill inspiration.

Coal was characterised by seriousness in its graver intentions and a stark change and definition of mood coming off Bilateral. Inhibitions were forgotten for the latter as they indulged in creative fluidity and variety, the band as a whole acting on an underlying avant-garde impulse and securing a recorded expression of their own eclecticism. The notion of Leprous as lackeys of Ihsahn significantly decreased in validity due to such an expression, and represented a point at which the band realised their own style.

Said style and its performers have been maturing from record-to-record, culminating in The Congregation. That their singer Solberg is as assertive in this new material as he was in Coal - and then some, as he takes a complete hold over the compositions - comes as no surprise given the direction that that record took, and The Congregation continues to provide platform for the band's vocal strengths in their theatrical character and pride of place. Instrumentation serves its purpose for what is a vocally centred record; the syncopated rhythms that the band is well known for are prominent, building the bedrock for Solberg's melodic arrangements and keyboard rich tones. The presence of their new drummer in Kolstad sustains the band's consistent percussive flair, his kit control evident as he fills the track-list with unerring rhythm and offbeat ingenuity about the mainstay guitar duo. Collectively, the efforts of all band members can be heard distinctly in tight-knit arrangement, the production end again handled ably by Jens Bogren.

What Leprous sacrifice in order to further their direction initiated in Coal is the diversity best displayed by Bilateral. The focus requires curtailing eclecticism for that more specific approach to mood that Solberg's song writing brings. Though this is not to deny the variation that is present in the track-list, as the album changes face throughout its runtime while maintaining an overall aesthetic aim. This was the aim with Coal; a direction which they've now refined and taken to new material with clear resolve and versatility.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Written on 26.05.2015 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.

Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 36   Visited by: 478 users
01.06.2015 - 16:44
Written by strade on 01.06.2015 at 05:54

I've never been able to get into this band, but this album is currently blowing me away. I'll be sure to revisit their previous work soon...

Every album of theirs has a slightly different flavour to it, so that's probably why. Sometimes you just need the right access point.
Sometimes you just need to roll the dice and look away.
05.06.2015 - 22:18
I have only listened twice to The Congregation, so I don't really have a final verdict yet. That being said, so far, I do find the songs a bit bland overall. But hey, maybe it will grow on me, like Coal did.
On a different note, I absolutely hate the cover! What is that all about? Even Coal's was better.
05.07.2015 - 00:51
It's taken me a while to really appreciate the complexity of this album. It's definitely grown on me.
08.09.2015 - 15:19
dr devil
It was really really awesome. \m/
21.01.2016 - 21:06
Fils du Lys
Good review enough, nothing pretentious in it. I don't see why metal reviews should be all about shit's and fuck's. *cough* Troy Killjoy *cough*.
Notre destinée n'est pas encore tracée....
06.02.2016 - 00:11
When I first heard this album I was 'Ah damn, another lackluster just like Coal'. Since then my thoughts regarding the album has flipped upside down.
Maybe now I should give Coal another try...
Li'ed - Prog-Metal from Jerusalem

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