Born in 2001 Leprous is a progressive rock and metal bands with numerous band and geographic ties to the band Emperor. The group issued a April, 2004 demo called Silent Waters, which featured Kenneth Solberg on guitar and Truls Vennman on drums. 2006’s Aeolia featured drummer Tor Stian Borhaug and lead to a deal with Sensory records out of the USA. Solberg, in the meantime, as the live keyboardist for Emperor’s reunion shows in 2006 and 2007. The band’s debut album appeared in May of 2009. The band toured with Opeth, while a couple of the members backed as Ihsahn’s (of Emperor) backing band. The group was invited to Lithuania for July of 2009 to appear at Devilstone Open Air festival.
LEPROUS – TALL POPPY SYNDROME – SENSORY
This band of Norwegians would indeed be leprous. Let me explain. Its not because they are so terribly bad. It is because the group’s progressive, unique and original endeavour is bound to be anti-commercial. Leprous is not very much like anything else out there. And it is the band’s label debut!
Sensory/The Laser’s Edge has a habit of signing progressive – not as a style necessarily, but as a true concept – bands and Leprous is going to be right there at the pinnacle of the movement. Thankfully, for us metal fans, there is enough heaviness and ferocity to support a closer inspection. Right off the bat, song one, Passing makes several things clear and sets the tone. This band is proficient enough to support its ambitions, the music is extraordinarily complex, there is as much power riffing and guitars as there are disharmonic chords and complex patterns. Passing also showcases the incredible dexterity of singer Einar Solberg who in the same song sings, growls and screams – all to near perfection. In fact, the man’s clean vocals are further rationale why silly commercial trend-mongers like In Flames and Soilwork need to call it a day (yesterday). The juxtaposition is undeniable and embarrassing to those bands and their ilk. Not Even A name is a pounding and symphonic expression that is nonetheless enhanced beyond measure by the many dispositions of the vocals. This is a real musical rollercoaster’s with both extreme highs and lows. The opener also establishes the fluidity and complex originality of the lead guitars. The leads become a source of enigma the more one hears them. The ones on He Will Kill Again and White, for instance, are some of the more original guitar picking and notes one would hear anywhere. Phantom Pain is again the same, but ends on such powerful terms that there is no doubt that amidst the detritus of clean singing and pianos there is a wad of strength. The bass guitar and the drum’s heavy sound are the perfect complements. The bass runs on White are remarkable. It’s all quite incredible really.
A word or two is also needed on the topic of the band’s lyrics as well. The band and label has printed the lyrics and emphasized them via quotations in the booklet as well. The band’s streak of words about despair in a word of conformity and its avowal to fight and resist mediocrity are a constant source of triumph. The title track neatly sums things up. The spoken words are anathema to bandwagons of conformity which are schools and colleges, workplaces and vocations and, above all, religions. Think about it.
Of all things, Leprous’ association with ugly bigots like Ihsahn and Emperor would be its biggest downfall. The band’s personal politics and points-of-view are a matter of speculation for now, but for a clearly intelligent and original act to be tied to a bunch of pathetic commercial has-beens is disappointing. Let’s hope the relationship can be attributed to something as base as the need to make some money. Tall Poppy Syndrome has both depth and reason. It will never be a big release, but that is why the mainstream is stupid in anything and everything, isn’t it? – Ali “The Metallian”