Courtesy: InsideOut Music
Fourteen years have passed since the progressive metal band that is Leprous first formed. In the years since, Leprous has kept itself quite busy releasing three albums, one demo record and an EP. This year, the band released its fourth full-length studio effort. It goes without saying that in comparison to those previous recordings, the band’s new album The Congregation is its best work to date. That is because it has taken the various sounds crafted in the band’s previous trio of records and used them to create a sound that just as with its previous releases is unlike any other progressive rock or metal act out there today. That is obvious right off the top in the album’s opener ‘The Price.’ The band members’ talents set against the song’s seeming slow two-time signature alone make it quite the first impression on this record. The song’s cryptic, thought-provoking lyrics add even more interest to this piece. ‘Third Law,’ the album’s second song, is just as exemplary of what makes The Congregation such a powerful work. Much as with the album’s opener, the rather melancholy tone of the song’s musical content set against its equally powerful lyrics make for another prime example of why The Congregation stands out not just among Leprous’ overall body of work but among other prog rock and metal albums released so far this year. The same can be said of the album’s third entry ‘Rewind.’ Solberg’s vocal delivery in this song coupled with the work of his band mates and the song’s lyrics show once more why The Congregation stands out both among Leprous’ overall body of work and among every other prog-rock and prog-metal band out there today. Whether for these songs or the others not noted here, audiences will agree that The Congregation has a lot to offer audiences. And in offering so much both musically and lyrically, it can be easily said again that this record is Leprous’ best effort to date.
Leprous’ latest full-length studio release The Congregation is the best effort so far from the Norwegian prog-metal band. That is because it incorporates the various elements of its previous releases into each of its twelve total tracks. The result of that incorporation is twelve songs that stand out completely not only from any of Leprous’ previous compositions but twelve songs that stand out starkly from anything churned out by any other prog-rock and prog-metal band out there today. That is obvious right off the top in the album’s opener ‘The Price.’ The most impressive aspect of this song is its musical content. The song comes in just under the 5:30 mark. In that time, it utilizes a variety of time signatures. Throughout all of those time changes, the band’s members–Einar Solberg (vocals, keyboards), Tor Oddmund Suhrke (guitar), Oystein Landsverk (guitar), and Baard Kolstad (drums)–never once lose their place. Kolstad’s time keeping is impeccable through it all. The work of Surhke and Landsverk is just as precise. Audiences can see and hear for themselves that precision as the band recently debuted the video for ‘The Price’ online. It can be experienced online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G9Qd_84YZs. While the musical component of ‘The Price’ does plenty to make it stand out, its lyrical content does just as much to hold listeners’ attention. Solberg sings in this song, “Piercing his eyes/Scars you can’t see/Cutting profound/Places you don’t want to be/Climbing a mountain/Crossing a sea/The gutter parts us from the rain/Up on the hill/Tough and alone/Perfectly filling his desolate throne/Friendly betrayal/Somber delight/Treating his tumor/Without a fight.” There is a lot of metaphorical writing here. The song’s first verse, which ends with Solberg singing, “Climbing a mountain/Crossing a sea,” comes across as referencing someone fighting some powerful emotional demons. The song’s second verse is just as thought-provoking. Surhke, who wrote the song, uses some intriguing imagery (E.g. a gutter, a lone hilltop, and an empty throne) in this verse. The imagery in question would seem to continue hinting at the imagery of someone being alone. As always, such an interpretation could easily be wrong. By no means is this interpretation meant to be gospel. It would be interesting to learn the full meaning behind all three of the song’s verses. But one must admit that using such metaphorical and cryptic language makes clear why this song was chosen to open The Congregation. Coupled with the song’s fully thought out musical content, it makes the song one that will definitely leave a lasting impression on listeners.
The impression that ‘The Price’ leaves on audiences with its combination of stand-out musical content and equally thought-provoking lyrics makes clear why it was chosen to open The Congregation. It is just one song from this record that will leave an impression on audiences. Leprous follows it up with yet another song that will leave just as much of an impact on listeners in the form of the album’s second song ‘Third Law.’ Much as with the album’s opener, this song also boasts an interesting mix of time signatures throughout its six-minute-plus run time. Considering this, one could almost argue it to be not just prog-rock or prog-metal but math metal, too. And yet again the band’s members work like a well-oiled unit from measure to measure never once losing their place. This song’s lyrical content set against the song’s musical content will keep listeners just as engaged as the combination presented by the album’s opener. Surhke seems to be a little clearer with his message in this song as he writes, “On the rise/Going up/First to be alone at the top/No delusion in your mind/Peripheral vision left behind.” Surhke comes across here as commenting about those that would do whatever it takes to get to the top first not even caring about those around them (I.E. peripheral vision left behind). He goes on to write in the song’s second verse, “Felt inside/Something alive/Devious instinct to survive.” That would seem to leave little doubt as to what Surhke is saying. And if it doesn’t then the song’s closing verse definitely does as he writes, “Real compassion obsolete/Camouflaging indiscrete.” He comes across as commenting on those whose concern for others on their way up is clearly fake and those that act as such do so with little concern as to whether or not others catch on. Once more, this could be entirely off the mark. But it would seem to be rather clear what Surhke is saying here. Either way, the combination of Surhke’s thought-provoking lyrics and the song’s musical content, co-composed by Surhke and Solberg, is just as certain to keep listeners’ ears and in turn lead to plenty of discussion among fans and listeners alike. That being the case, it shows exactly why ‘Third Law’ is another impressive addition to The Congregation. It also shows the sheer depth of substance offered by Leprous on its latest LP.
Both ‘Third Law’ and ‘The Price’ show in their own way just how much Leprous has to offer audiences on its new album. That is thanks to the very depth of the songs’ musical and lyrical content. They are just a couple of examples of how much the band has to offer audiences on this record. ‘Rewind’ the record’s third offering also shows plenty of depth both musically and lyrically. Musically, the way that the song gradually builds from its opening bars to the sound that makes up the rest of the song will especially grab listeners. That is especially the case as Solberg’s vocals are added in. There is almost a Maynard James-Keenan feel to his delivery. On the same note, Kolstad’s drumming is on par with that of Tool’s Danny Carey with his talents. Yet again Surhke adds his own depth with his lyrical content. He writes in this song, “Build up/Tear down/Set free/Rewind/The circle is ending/I’m done pretending/Left behind/Resist to be reputed/Protect the undisputed/Behold your insufficiency/Wistfully/Behold your demolition/Assume there’s no ambition/None better suited.” This verse is just as deep and cryptic as the lyrical content of the album’s first pair of songs and its other compositions, too. It’s only one verse, too. The remainder of the song’s lyrical content is just as deep. No doubt it will create just as much discussion among audiences as will the song’s musical content. Both elements taken together, they prove exactly why ‘Rewind’ is yet another prime example of how much Leprous has to offer on this record. Whether it be for this song, either of the previously noted pair of songs or for any of the others not noted here, it goes without saying that The Congregation in whole is one of the best of the prog-rock and metal community so far this year. It also proves in whole to be Leprous’ best record to date.
Leprous offers audiences quiet the depth both musically and lyrically on it latest effort. Whether through its first trio of songs or for any of its other songs, The Congregation shows time and again over the course of its dozen total songs how much it has to offer listeners. All twelve songs considered together, they show The Congregation to be the band’s best work to date and one of the best new prog-rock/metal albums of 2014. The Congregation is available now in stores and online. Audiences can also pick up the album at any of Leprous’ live shows. Speaking of which the band has just announced a new handful of dates on its already packed tour schedule. Fans can check out those dates and get all of the latest news from the band online now at:
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