Mental health is a topic that many artists have engaged in recent times, from different perspectives and outlines, but when put into music, as an audience, we can be able to identify ourselves with it even more; it’s like having a soundtrack to your pain. This is exactly what Leprous brings with their new album Pitfalls (Inside Out Music). Keep in mind though, if you are a fan of the band and you’re looking for Heavy Progressive music, you should open your mind a bit, because the majority of this album is not heavy. Now, the fact that this is not a heavy album should not mislead you since this is probably one of the best-written albums of the year. There are tracks like ‘I Lose Hope’ and ‘By My Throne’ that are even danceable tracks (think House music and stuff in that vein) but there are tracks like ‘Foreigner’ and ‘The Sky is Red’ that have some riffing that characterize the heavy side of the band.
Having said that, this is another band that most of the people I usually share music taste with are into and I never really got a chance to get around their music, but this album changed my perspective on how to approach this specific style of music. Though I usually leave the lyrical aspect for last when analyzing an album, for some reason, something kept telling me that I needed to check the lyrics of this album and when I did, I wasn’t disappointed. The lyrical approach of this album concentrates on different mental issues that we all have to deal with; depression, overall frustration with life, and trying to get back to square one and start all over. I think of this album as a very good and in-depth understanding of these different passages that we normally go as human beings and it’s just beautifully written. The track ‘Observe the Train’ is by far my favorite of this album because, even though it is a very mellow song, connects with the listener in a way that says: “hey, stop, breathe, and start again”; a good reminder when we live in such fast-paced lives.
Musically, even though these songs can seem to be in the commercial side of things, are brilliantly written, but the vocal performance by Einar Solberg in this album must be some of the top vocal performances of the year, there is no way around it. His distinguishable voice and the different tools that he applies to make the vocals be exactly where they need to be are top-notch work and it looks like he completely worked his ass off to make them they are; probably one of my favorite vocal performances in the last five years.
For some reason I have seen that a lot of people criticizing this album for lacking the heavy side of the band, but I think that fans, specifically Progressive Metal fans, should be a little bit more open-minded about this album, this is a gem among gems and Leprous deserves all the credit for making this music as well as they did. Yes, it may be a grower, but I can say that it is worth sitting and listening to the different corners that this album offers, you won’t be disappointed.
8 / 10