LEPROUS, Pitfalls (InsideOut, 2019)
PERSONNEL: Baard Kolstad (Drums); Tor Oddmund Suhrke (Guitar); Simen Børven (Bass ); Robin Ognedal (Guitar); Einar Solberg (Vocals/Synth)
- Lose Hope
- Observe the Train
- By My Throne
- At the Bottom
- Distant Bells
- The Sky is Red
Most bands spend the early stages of their career looking for the formula that will help popularize them. Once that problem is solved, the band rarely deviates from said formula. Luckily for us, Leprous is not one of those bands.
The Norwegian quintet established itself in the progressive rock community with the heavy metal riffs, soaring choruses, and nearly brutal rhythms commonly associated with progressive metal. Pitfalls, the band’s latest album, takes a small step back from this formula, and does so successfully.
While the “traditional” Leprous song buildups are omnipresent, the uber heavy payoff riffs are not as front-and-center as they have been in the past. They have not vanished, per se. But rather, the soaring voice of Einar Solberg frequently carries the day in nearly operatic fashion. For lack of a better term, Leprous has made themselves a bit more … accessible to newcomers, without compromising the musical integrity that established them in the first place.
“Below” seems ironically named, as it seems to open the album by sailing in from above. The album maintains its quasi-mellow vibe through “Distant Bells,” a tune geared, it would seem, toward bringing in new listeners. Chances are, it will succeed.
But the band has not totally abandoned its established identity. “The Sky is Red” is prog metal at its finest, epic in its scope and reach. It should be more than enough to please the established fans.
Pitfalls may not be exactly the album Leprous fans were expecting, but it does represent a rich addition to the band’s catalog.
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