Bilateral (InsideOut Music)
The InsideOut music label is know as the home of such metal heavyweight names as THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT and KINGS X, but mainly deals in prog bands, both new and old. One band that has a foot in each world is LEPROUS who are about to release their stunning third album. They combinine all of the nuances and subtleties of classic progressive rock while maintaining the brute force of the best in modern metal. This band is certain to become a game changer once they get in front the ears of a of a bigger audience. They have already opened for IHSAHN and OPETH so who knows how much further they can go? The songs are also tuneful enough for mainstream tastes as well. It is not that far fetched that this band could be poised for big things indeed.
Did you ever think in all of your kaleidoscope dreams, twenty-sided die D&D games and years staring at Roger Dean plastered bedroom walls that a band could come along and combine the best elements of DREAM THEATER, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and PROTEST THE HERO? Well if you did I am here to tell you that dreams come true. On the title track the band does all of this and more. The first thing you notice is the amazing vocal prowess of singer/keyboardist Einar Solberg. His full-bodied, gorgeous tenor voice has the flair of an Opera star and fire of a rock singer. His soaring melodies carry just about every song and hooked me in immediately since I am a sucker for great vocals. As for the song it is catchy and heavy with a touch of thrash riffs and spacey keyboards. In other words in these modern times this song could actually lift off from this album and make it to a more commercial arena without losing its heart. “Restless” starts off with a syncopated rhythm and an arpeggiated guitar part that sounds like some mellow college rock until the chorus lifts comes in and starts to jam with a dance-y beat and other baddassery. Some of the riffs and singing are as tough as the a fore mentioned rock/metal influences. Tobias Ornes Andersen is a master-killer on the drums and he is often the focal point of the songs after Solberg. The adventurous composition of “Forced Entry” features poly rhythms, shifting keys and time signatures. The guitar playing by Tor Oddmund Suhrke and Oysten Landsverk is ingenious and will have you headbanging one minute and sitting back introspectively the next as well. Both men provide excellent harmonized vocals throughout the album too. Bassist Rein Blomquist steps out on a tasteful mid-song lead bass line that would easily be associated with EVAN BREWER, Joe Lester or other modern greats . “Thorn” is another track that begins with one vibe and quickly becomes another story entirely. Starting off with a mournful trumpet, the song has an ominous groovy feel to it. The chorus would not be out of place on a YES or EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER album with more of Solberg’s vocal magic. Also making a guest appearance is IHSAHN himself and the mid-song riffs are some of the harsher moments on the album. The interplay between the whimsical keys and guitars , jazzy horns and IHSAHN’s death growls are intoxicating. My favorite track on the album is “Mb. Indifferntia”. The song shares many qualities with a classic 1970′s PINK FLOYD track, down to Solberg’s delicate DAVID GILMOUR, MIKE PATTON or DEVIN TOWNSEND style croon. Melodies envelope you and take you over like OPETH would do. The last two minutes of the song are a pure musical orgasm. “Waste of Air” is a chaotic rocker blasting away ghosts of prog past to create something new and modern. “Mediocrity Wins” features a great keyboard part and some neat guitars and bass lines. The whispered, almost rapped verses are a real change up from the rest of the album, but work well here. Blomquist in particular stands out again on a seriously funky walking line that bolsters the main theme of the track. This is another song that could quite seriously become a hit song given varied today’s tastes. “Cryptogenic Desires” is a dense prog metal workout that encompasses everything the band does well in under three minutes. Just perfect. “Acquired Taste” is a slow, boiling ballad that sounds like what I expect the next A PERFECT CIRCLE album to sound like if it ever happens. The final track that closes the opus is “Painful Detour”. The song is prog that borders on djent, goes through many mini movements and still gives you a reason to throw the horns. A definitely a group of artists worth watching.
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes