Nov 102011

(NCS writer Andy Synn reviews the new album from Norway’s Leprous.)

Ok, I originally had a longer and more traditionally deconstructive review written up for this. But while re-listening to the album for about the fifth consecutive time, I realised nothing I was writing was really getting to the heart of this utterly genius, utterly addictive gem of an album.

Who/what does it sound like? Well there are elements of Porcupine Tree’s depressive progressive excursions and Devin Townsend’s ambitious mutant pop melodies, along with the bombast of Queen and the precociousness of early Dream Theatre to boot. Similarities to Ihsahn’s solo work of course abound, Leprous being the backing band he employs to give life to his beautiful and barren soundscapes in the live setting (the band also features his youngest brother-in-law, fact fans) as do comparisons with the off-kilter force of sadly departed esoteric metallers Oceans Of Sadness. Yet that’s not all.

There’s the unhinged madness of Sigh, the introverted progressive might of Into Eternity, a throwback 70’s haze that recalls Opeth’s more self-indulgent moments, a cock-sure strut that can only stem from the over-the-top 80’s output of Queensryche, the meandering and sleep-walking structures of latter-day Cynic, the unashamed, operatic excesses of Muse, the singular power of Enslaved, the madcap mentality of Arcturus… my god, it’s like an unholy amalgamation of everything vibrant and progressive from the last several decades, mixed up and spat out in this narcissistically beautiful, yet vaguely unnerving form. (more after the jump . . .)

What does it sound like? Words have, for once, failed me really.

It sounds like the soundtrack to 80’s classic Transformers: The Movie played by sentient prog-rock cyborgs.

It sounds like Deconstruction further deconstructed.

It sounds like a thousand broken robots, doing the robot, in the middle of a strobe-lit dance-floor.

It sounds like the future making sweet love to the past, to produce a child that can see through time.

It sounds like Vertebrae as remixed by French dance-funk mentalists Daft Punk.

It sounds like being beaten up, underwater.

It sounds like Ulver after discovering acid-house and LSD.

It sounds like Fear Of A Blank Planet rewritten as a daytime soap-opera. Performed by robots. With amnesia.

It sounds like cyber-prog.

It sounds like music from the future.

Sample Songs: “Forced Entry”, “Waste Of Air”, “Cryptogenic Desires”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bilateral is out now on InsideOut Music. The eye-catching cover art is by Jeff Jordan ( The album was also mixed and mastered at Fascination Street by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Pain of Salvation, Devin Townsend, Symphony X, and many more). Here are Leprous links:

Now it’s time for music. Here’s “Forced Entry”:

[audio:|titles=Leprous – Forced Entry]

And here’s the new official video for “Restless”:

  11 Responses to “LEPROUS: “BILATERAL””

  1. Wash wit dat fish!

  2. This is one of my fav albums this year

    • I don’t know if it’s my favourite (that’s highly influenced and biased by my love of particular bands as well as the quality of the album in question) but it might just be the BEST album released this year.

  3. That is one of the more unusual and interesting album covers I’ve seen in a while.

  4. I think Bilateral has some better songs than what was on Tall Poppy Syndrome, but that album as a whole was stronger. “Forced Entry” and “Restless” are decent tracks, but the standout track would be “Thorn”, the one with guest vocals from their second gig ringleader. I would guess that they think very highly of the track, going so far as to have it printed differently on the back cover.

    • See, I think that Bilateral is a more effective album because it’s so much more full of bits that catch the ear in a surprising manner. There’s not a song on there that I don’t get to and feel the need to grab a friend and go “wait, listen to THIS part… and THIS part”, etc.

      It does indeed blow my mind.

      Though Tall Poppy Syndrome was ace and a more pertinently “metal” album overall.

      • Maybe that’s why I like it more, it was more of a “metal” album than this one. Not that what Leprous have done with this album isn’t good. Quite the opposite, actually. Truth be told, I haven’t spent as much time with this one as I did TPS when I first got it, so I haven’t had as much chance to latch onto the best parts; however, I don’t think they can even match the chiming guitars of “Dare You”.

        • Check the drums on “Forced Entry” – I swear there are parts where the drummer is playing a different song, on purpose, just because he can do so without dropping a beat. Honestly, he shifts time-signature so much AROUND the rest of the band my jaw was reasonably permanently on the floor.

  5. Love this album. So much variety and creativity. I just listened to this last night, interestingly…

  6. So much to handle! Needs more listens!

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