Aug 162023

Hailing from Portland, Maine, the trio who call themselves Lepra tell you right away to expect unconventional music: They call their creations “black velvet metal”, a potentially risky choice, in association with a genre whose usual trappings lean more toward spikes and iron gauntlets.

But the independence from convention goes deeper than that somewhat ambiguous characterization: Lepra don’t use guitars, though it’s pretty clear they could if they wanted to. Instead, they rely on such instruments as a Wurlitzer organ and flutes, along with a vivid bass, equally vivid drumming, and vocals that are both harsh and clean.

And on their debut album Devil’s Blood In Her Tongue, they also include a guest (Caleb Chase of Potion Seller) who performs harp, cello, and melodica on a song.

If you’re unfamiliar with Lepra you might now be jumping to the conclusion that they’re some kind of potentially dreamy folk-metal band, but that would be too conventional as well, as you’re about to learn for yourselves through our premiere of a song off the new album called “Olde Growth“.

In this song Lepra gradually create an increasingly devilish collage of sound. With the mysterious and somewhat menacing reverberations of a bass as the initial layer, they add shimmering organ radiations that are even more eerie and increasingly unnerving, plus the rumble and tumble of drums.

The bass gets a chance to growl on its own, a slight warning before things get much more vicious. The drums hammer and cavort in riotous maneuvers; a voice howls like a rabid lycanthrope; and the unearthly sonic swaths around them begin to swirl and sear the senses.

But this is an ever-changing collage. Extravagant singing voices soar, and the music elevates as well, creating a shining vista of unearthly splendor. Meanwhile, the drum patterns morph constantly, the bass vividly chews through stone (or bone), and ethereal filaments of melody slowly twist and turn through increasingly turbulent rhythms and scalding snarls.

The collage builds into an elaborate and electrifying maelstrom, though it’s the bass that gets the last word.



So, definitely not dreamy folk metal, though pagan folk influences play a role, but instead something far more diabolically ingenious and unpredictable. The album as a whole is billed by the labels that are co-releasing it — Vita Detestabilis and Fiadh Productions — as a blend of “black punk/and roll, folk, goth rock, and doom”, but those references aren’t exhaustive.

We also want to share Lepra‘s description of the tales the album tells, which aren’t conventional either:

Devil’s Blood in Her Tongue follows the journey of an outcast as she grapples with exile, plague, carnage, revenge, desire, and dark magic. Her plight becomes entwined with the entities she meets along the way: the last surviving bat of the colony clinging to its shelter; the waterfall goddess reclaiming her sacred river; the forest spirits purging the destructive presence of colonization; the crow foretelling the demise of a village and feasting on the remains of its dead.

By the journey’s end she realizes the fruitlessness of pursuing what is deemed good or just in a world of endless suffering, and with her newfound power, casts herself at the center of a perverse realm of her own creation.

LEPRA are:
Sarah: bass / vox / flute
Kate: keys / vox
Nyssa: drums / keys on intro/outro / vocal harmonies on Cataracta’s Lament

Over the years they’ve shared the stage with acts that include Kayo Dot, Liturgy, HIRS, Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Body Void, and No/Más, and they play frequently around New England’s DIY punk and metal scenes. In fact, on August 18th they’re embarking on a mini-tour that will give fans a new chance to hear the new music:

Vita Detestabilis and Fiadh Productions will jointly release Devil’s Blood In Her Tongue in a limited tape edition on August 25th, and it will be available digitally from the band. Pre-orders are becoming available via the links below.

The album was recorded and mixed by Eric Sauter (Blackheart Sound), and it was mastered by Will Killingsworth (Dead Air Studios). The cover art was created by Sarah.




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