By DJ Astrocreep

Having the previous albums in my collection and having seen them live already, the depth of Leprous’ songwriting talent is something that has long impressed me. While a lot of people may know them more for the heavier end of their writing, with their progressive metal side certainly getting quite heavy at times, this release is something a touch different from the Scandinavian six-piece. Six releases in ten years is no mean feat either, especially when you bear in mind how heavy their touring schedule can be, so how does this one compare to the previous?

Well, there are certainly heavier moments during some tracks but the focus is a lot more squarely on the rather able vocal talents of Einar and the delicacy of what they can achieve with their style of play, rather than just smashing through your eardrums, as has dominated some of the previous releases. While the songwriting, as said earlier, has always been good, there is a step up on this release, something that had to happen, given the style they have written the album in.

Einar has taken more centre stage in terms of the lyrics on this album, too. While Tor still wrote a couple of the songs, Einar has penned some deeply personal tracks, seemingly written whilst suffering from bouts of depression and similar, which would explain the quite different feel of the album – though this was a conscious decision by the band to do something different. ‘Below’ and ‘Distant Bells’ were two of the singles chosen in advance of the album release, which between them highlight the different approaches and feels that the album as a whole has to it. While ‘Below’ stays a touch closer to previous works, unlike the rest of the softer and more delicate first half of the album, the building crescendo of the music through ‘Distant Bells’ each of the later tracks, like a tsunami gathering strength prior to crashing down, is quite more descriptive of the album of a whole. It’s not until we hit penultimate track ‘Foreigner’ and closer ‘The Sky Is Red’ that we get something more resembling their previous works, something I think deliberately not chosen as a single so as to not mislead anyone on the approach that was taken with this release.

The level of musicianship is as strong as ever, though in the main a quite different tack to a lot of their previous releases, leading to something that I think will come across incredibly in a live setting alongside the immaculate live show and lighting that they use to make it much more of an experience. It may take a few listens for some existing fans to fully appreciate the true depth in this release, being nowhere near as in your face as the majority of the previous work, but is one I think will be highly rewarding should they do so. It’s a superb album and one that has been added to the shortlist for my top 20 of the year, no mean feat in a year that has seen so many top-notch releases.

  • ‘Pitfalls’ is released on Friday (25 October). You can get your copy HERE.

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