We chatted recently with music legend Ihsahn over Skype to discuss his upcoming new EP, Pharos, due out on September 11th, via Candlelight Records. Ihsahn contrasted the music from the current EP to his last one, Telemark, the many different sides of his moods and styles, how he chooses cover songs, the evolution of his singing voice, thoughts on performing live, some of his other projects over the years, and next years Emperor full album performance of “In the Nightside Eclipse” at Beyond The Gates Festival in Norway in 2021. Purchase Pharos here and check out our chat! Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Less, apparently, is more. Only when less is less, that is.
If you have been following the fortunes of Norwegian progressive metal band, Leprous, for any length of time then you will already know that this latest exposition of their art, The Congregation (InsideOut) has been about the band refining their essence, honing their craft and delivering a record that should be more purposeful and resonant as a result.
Here’s a bit of irony for you: for a record that is supposed to be cutting out the superfluous and honing things back to its core, it doesn’t half go on a bit. This record is over 66 mins long and, honestly, they could have done with an editor. Cutting out a bit of workman-like flab could have made The Congregation great; leaving it in, it’s still a very good record, sure to win them plenty of new admirers but it isn’t a stone cold masterpiece (of which, more, later).
‘The Price’ kicks off proceedings very agreeably; its djent like feel, allied to Einar Solberg’s dextrous vocals brings us into familiar territory but as an opener it sounds curiously uncertain of itself. It has a plaintive “here we are, with our refined sound, please don’t judge us too harshly” sense to it. It is something of a trepidatious opener. Proceedings warm up somewhat with ‘3rd Law’ and you get the sense that the band are starting to find their feet tonally and sonically. ‘Rewind’s steady build to a latter-stage guttural death howl is much more like it and there is plenty to admire in the Depeche Mode– esque gothic drama of ‘Flood’.
‘Within My Fence’ is perhaps the best example of the band’s much discussed focus – built around a terrific series of syncopated rhythms, you’re immediately struck by its brevity but thrilled by its energy and invention. ‘Triumphant’ well, doesn’t exactly do what it says on the tin and is a bit lukewarm and bland when it should have been brimming with effervescent joy. ‘Slave’, however, more than makes up for that with its repetitive and compelling riffing as well as its final part Cult of Luna style vocals that you aren’t expecting, and therefore welcome ever more warmly when they dive-bomb into your cerebellum.
Whilst there is a lot to like and admire on this latest album, The Congregation is also the tale of an opportunity missed. The opportunity: to cement yourself at the summit of progressive metal is certainly there for the taking; with The Congregation, they haven’t quite been able to deliver that unalloyed masterpiece that their adherents (of which I consider myself one) will have you believe is within their grasp. It IS in their grasp, however, The Congregation feels somewhat a band getting ready to deliver that masterpiece rather than actually delivering it.
The Congregation reveals itself as very good record, one with plenty of ideas but not all of them universally successful. It probably says something about the hopes and high expectations that one has for Leprous that this review is reading like an aching disappointment. Genuinely, it’s not that. The Congregation, then, is the sum of its progressive parts.
Close then, but, for now, that metaphoric cigar remains unlit.
Norwegian progsters Leprous have completed work on their forthcoming studio album titled The Congregation, which will be released on May 25, 2015 in Europe and June 2, 2015 in North America via InsideOutMusic.
Leprous have recorded the drums, guitars and bass for their new album in Sweden’s Fascination Street / Ghostward Studios with David Castillo (Katatonia, Opeth) and the vocals together with Heidi Solberg Tveitan & Vegard Tveitan at Mnemosyne Studios in Norway. Just like the preceding albums Bilateral and Coal, The Congregation was mixed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios (Opeth, Symphony X, Kreator).
They have announced their upcoming European touring schedule, which the dates are posted below.
LEPROUS European Tour 2015:
Sep 25: Garage – Bergen (Norway)
Oct 02: Forbraendingen – Copenhagen (Denmark)
Oct 03: Euroblast Festival – Cologne (Germany)
Oct 04: Progpower Europe – Baarlo (The Netherlands)
Oct 05: Le Divan Du Monde – Paris (France)
Oct 06: Le Ferrailleur – Nantes (France)
Oct 08: RCA club – Lisbon (Portugal)
Oct 09: Caracol – Madrid (Spain)
Oct 10: Garaje – Murcia (Spain)
Oct 11: Apolo 2 – Barcelona, (Spain)
Oct 12: Ninkasi Kao – Lyon (France)
Oct 13: Garage – London, (UK)
Oct 14: Ruby Lounge – Manchester (UK)
Oct 15: The Fleece – Bristol (UK)
Oct 16: Jan Hertog – Maasmechelen (Belgium)
Oct 17: Substage – Karlsruhe (Germany)
Oct 19: Legend Club – Milano (Italy)
Oct 24: Majestic Club – Bratislava (Slovakia)
Oct 25: Nova Chmelnice – Prague (Czech Republic)
Oct 26: Progresja – Warszaw (Poland)
Oct 27: Rockcafe – Riga (Latvia)
Oct 28: Nosturi – Helsinki (Finland)
Oct 30: Bryggarsalen – Stockholm (Sweden)
Oct 31: John Dee – Oslo (Norway)
LEPROUS – Live at European Festivals 2015:
Jun 05: Fortarock Festival – Nijmegen (NT)
Jul 11: BeProgMyFriend Festival – Barcelona (ES)
Oct 03: Euroblast Festival – Cologne (DE)
Oct 04: Progpower Europe – Baarlo (NT)
LEPROUS line-up 2015:
Einar Solberg – Lead Vocal, Keys
Tor Oddmund Suhrke – Guitars
Øystein Landsverk – Guitars
Baard Kolstad – Drums
I don’t care who you are — start managing people, and prepare for a bag of dicks. They may blossom from you, they may sprout from elsewhere, but trust me… bag of dicks. Probably because no one likes to be told what to do, and despite any pre-existing relationship, things get strained — which is perhaps why Leprous grows adventurous when released from the reign(rein?) of Vegard “Ihshan” Tveitan. This is not to suggest potential dissolution nor unhappy work conditions (after all, I’m not on tour with these folks), but it’s easy to imagine how one might feel a greater personal investment in their own creation. Continue reading
Norwegian progressive metal band Leprous are the embodiment of being progressive. With each successive album they push their musical boundaries. Coal, their latest album, may well be their finest effort to date. Einar Solberg (keyboards/vocals) certainly shares this sentiment and he’s more than happy to share his thoughts on anything Leprous. Continue reading