Sunday, May 31, 2015

Leprous - The Congregation (2015)

I discovered the Norwegian progressive metal band Leprous in 2013, when they released "Coal", a album that took me by storm and was a obvious choice for when it was time to put together my "best of the year" list of 2013. Now, here we are, 2 years later, and the band has unveiled the follow up "The Congregation", the band's 4th full length effort. As you may have suspected, my expectations for this release were pretty high given the band's history.

After the first listening session, I am left standing with only one thought in my head. That was it? "The Congregation" just felt slim at the time, still having some of the components that made "Coal" so successful, but scaling it off into a diet version. The songs were good, but there was something missing for me. Was it the heaviness? The catchy choruses? A overall grand feeling? I did not know. The band was performing well, and the structures sparked an interest in me, but I felt that the album was underwhelming.

After going through the album another bunch of times, I can definitely say that Leprous gives out a solid work. The sound that this album has is quite interesting, growing for every spin. There is not much to hide behind for the band members since the music is so naked, which ultimately demands a perfect performance. It is especially the singer Tor Oddmund Suhrke that shines, shaping his voice multiple times so that it fits perfectly with the melodies. He brings the music something special, something for fans to look forward too in every new release.

But somehow, my initial reaction still nags me in the back of my head. The peeled off music is according to me a step backwards for the band in the terms of quality, even if it shows that the band still has the ability to take their music to different territories in every record. I loved the epic and heavy music that "Coal" offered, and with this album missing almost all of the heavy personality, I cannot get myself together to love it. I still highly enjoy several epic tracks, like "Rewind", "The Flood",  "Within My Fence" and "Moon", but since all of the songs have such a similar feel to them, it is a pain in the ass to go through the entire album without any pause.

I wanted to love this record, I really wanted to, but "The Congregation" is, and always will be, a blob of disappointment. It is still a decent album, and fans of the band will probably be happy over it, but I cannot get into this kind of progressive music. It is just too bland for me. There is not enough action in this to get me excited. The craftsmanship is top notch, but what does that help when the music itself is as grey as the album cover. I will still give Leprous a thumbs up for evolving and trying to bring something new to the table in every release, just such a shame that they did not hit the head on the nail this time.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Flood, Rewind, Moon

Rating: 6/10 Slaves

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