Rating:
8.8
Leprous - Coal
20 May 2013


01. Foe
02. Chronic
03. Coal
04. The Cloak
05. The Valley
06. Salt
07. Echo
08. Contaminate Me
09. Bury [mediabook bonus]
10. Foe [remix] [mediabook bonus]


For their new album Leprous have dedicated themselves to the studio with a purpose. It's a guarantee that they can create something fresh as they move into artistic routes unexplored and Coal is no exception to this in its emphasis on a particular mood. Here they seem cool, calm and collected as they attempt to project a particular atmosphere into their music. They go about this darker melancholic direction with a certain uncharacteristic seriousness. Mind you the result still sounds like a Leprous album but it isn't another Bilateral which was of a very eclectic nature.

What we have with Coal is polished and cohesive and every aspect is distinctly expressed. This time around the presence of the rhythm section is more noticeable and there is less whimsical meandering in the guitars which were so prominent on previous records. The guitars often complacently and tightly align themselves with drums and bass and only fleetingly divert from the flow of things. As a result emergent leads are infrequent and fleeting in their rhythmic guise which gives the album a lighter feel.

Throughout the album you'll notice Solberg's voice as clearly as a canary in a coal mine; the vocals providing a focus as they carry a moody timbre. That same avant-garde theatricality is as distinctive as ever and fuels the fires of tracks like the piano initiated "Chronic" which becomes engulfed by the vocals and the well placed symphonic backdrop.

The chilling presence of the synths and electronic air in the percussively constant and bass plucked depths of "The Valley" give a new environment for vocal expression and many tracks operate in this way; each track allows for distinct variation of the same mood.

That's not to say Coal is merely an exhibition of Solberg's range or that of the backing vocal additions. The record is varied in other aspects despite its fixed aims at evoking a particularly melancholic vibe and moves in and out of that dominant mood. Andersen's drumming in particular is continually inventive and his guidance of the unique rhythms of each track are the main points of contrast with many memorable and distinctive shifts. The opening track "Foe" has a constant beat which punches easily through the mix before a drawn out passage of respite in which all percussion ceases and concludes in a harmonious vocal warbling.

Despite the variance among tracks the mood is maintained as Coal is focused, more so than previous records as it as an attempt at something more specific. An album which is both dynamic and manages to evoke a particular feeling is no easy ambition and Leprous deliver in spades.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Leprous
Album: Coal


 



Written on 16.06.2013 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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Urs Blank - 16.06.2013 at 10:50  
Very nice review R'Vannith

You've captured the very essence of Coal, focused and moving

Can't wait to see them at Crescendo in August
AeonGio - 16.06.2013 at 16:46  
As time passes by i'm becoming a bigger & bigger fan of these guys! Truly unique! \m/
Apothecary - 16.06.2013 at 19:44  
Saw this in the Staff Picks and it looked interesting, this review has convinced me that I gotta check these guys out
psykometal - 16.06.2013 at 22:00  
Written by Apothecary on 16.06.2013 at 19:44

Saw this in the Staff Picks and it looked interesting, this review has convinced me that I gotta check these guys out

Leprous is amazing! Most apt comparison I can think of would be like a mix of Ihsahn and Tool.
embracing - 17.06.2013 at 00:10  
Am I the only one who thinks it's too repetitive and boring?
There are barely any faster moments and the sound is also much less thick.
Sorry, but to me, it's a pretty big disappointment...
-DC-002- - 17.06.2013 at 00:17  
Good job reviewing this R'Vannith. Its a cool album, I like it. My only qualm is that the vocals did not sound comparably as well done then the last albums, they are brought up too much in the production sometimes and they sometimes sound forced. The musicianship is super sweet though and is the face meat of the album, the juiciest part.
BloodTears - 17.06.2013 at 13:41  
If they continue to release albums of such quality, Leprous might well become my next Porcupine Tree, a metal version of amazing/groundbreaking prog. I'm already getting into fan girl mode.

"Contaminate Me" is probably my favourite song so far which is strange considering I didn't like Ihsahn's last album. But that's how it goes. The guitar work here is memorizing.
Marcel Hubregtse - 17.06.2013 at 13:43  
Loads of radioheadisms in this album.
Daniell - 17.06.2013 at 16:08  
Quite a good album, but the vocalist kills the music, he's terrible.
Marcel Hubregtse - 17.06.2013 at 16:12  
Written by Daniell on 17.06.2013 at 16:08

Quite a good album, but the vocalist kills the music, he's terrible.



he indeed is. No matter what he tries to sing, he is just downright bad.
BoxCar Willy - 17.06.2013 at 16:21  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 17.06.2013 at 16:12

Written by Daniell on 17.06.2013 at 16:08

Quite a good album, but the vocalist kills the music, he's terrible.



he indeed is. No matter what he tries to sing, he is just downright bad.

Really? I didn't mind his voice.
Risto - 17.06.2013 at 16:22  
You may not like Solberg's voice, but don't say he's a bad vocalist!
Daniell - 17.06.2013 at 16:38  
Written by Risto on 17.06.2013 at 16:22

You may not like Solberg's voice, but don't say he's a bad vocalist!


I wasn't referring to his singing technique. He's not a bad singer. It's just his singing annoys me a lot.
Marcel Hubregtse - 17.06.2013 at 16:41  
Written by Daniell on 17.06.2013 at 16:38

It's just his singing annoys me a lot.

\and hence he is terrible/bad vocalist.

Good technique in itself does not make anyone good.
Hell there are loads of drummers who have a great technique yet aren't good, same for bass players, guitarists, vocalists, sports people
Mr. Doctor - 17.06.2013 at 17:43  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 17.06.2013 at 16:41

Written by Daniell on 17.06.2013 at 16:38

It's just his singing annoys me a lot.

\and hence he is terrible/bad vocalist.
Good technique in itself does not make anyone good.


*Cough*Whitney Houston*Cough*
The topic does interest me though, if we just don't like the person's voice despite he/she doing everything right technically speaking, we can still say it's bad, right? under that light many people would say that, I don't know... King Diamond sucks (I don't mind him though, just an example of love/hate singer).
R'Vannith - 17.06.2013 at 17:51  
Thanks for reading everyone.
Written by embracing on 17.06.2013 at 00:10

Am I the only one who thinks it's too repetitive and boring?
There are barely any faster moments and the sound is also much less thick.
Sorry, but to me, it's a pretty big disappointment...


I'd guess you aren't the only one, especially if you prefer the previous two. Both of those were much busier with the guitars I think but I find the rhythms on this one pretty infectious.

Written by -DC-002- on 17.06.2013 at 00:17

Good job reviewing this R'Vannith. Its a cool album, I like it. My only qualm is that the vocals did not sound comparably as well done then the last albums, they are brought up too much in the production sometimes and they sometimes sound forced. The musicianship is super sweet though and is the face meat of the album, the juiciest part.


The vocals sound more pronounced I agree, but not so much that they are a problem. The musicianship is stellar alright and I think they get better with each album!

Written by BloodTears on 17.06.2013 at 13:41

If they continue to release albums of such quality, Leprous might well become my next Porcupine Tree, a metal version of amazing/groundbreaking prog. I'm already getting into fan girl mode.

"Contaminate Me" is probably my favourite song so far which is strange considering I didn't like Ihsahn's last album. But that's how it goes. The guitar work here is memorizing.


Every time they release something new it's just really unique and interesting, Leprous are really capable at providing awesomely fresh prog! That "Contaminate Me" track is the closest thing they've done to imitating Ihsahn's solo material, the second half reminds me of it a great deal.
R'Vannith - 17.06.2013 at 18:07  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 17.06.2013 at 17:43

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 17.06.2013 at 16:41

Written by Daniell on 17.06.2013 at 16:38

It's just his singing annoys me a lot.

\and hence he is terrible/bad vocalist.
Good technique in itself does not make anyone good.


*Cough*Whitney Houston*Cough*
The topic does interest me though, if we just don't like the person's voice despite he/she doing everything right technically speaking, we can still say it's bad, right? under that light many people would say that, I don't know... King Diamond sucks (I don't mind him though, just an example of love/hate singer).


I think it's interesting too.. I mean if a vocalist does something right technically it doesn't necessarily mean that we have to like it. Voices vary and whether they appeal or not depend upon tastes as well as their possession of a significant amount of skill. You might find someone with a natural ability to sing without having trained it, and that "natural ability" is from someone else's perception of it sounding appealing and that they seem to have those technical skills already.

And about Solberg's voice. I think he's a great vocalist, he's improved from album to album and he's at his best on this one.
mz - 18.06.2013 at 10:56  
Written by Daniell on 17.06.2013 at 16:08

Quite a good album, but the vocalist kills the music, he's terrible.


I agree with you, vocals are the major down side of this album and I thunk he delivered much better performance in the previous two albums(especially bilateral)
Westvann - 18.06.2013 at 12:49  
I think the vocalist is a really good singer *flies away*
Diverge - 18.06.2013 at 20:03  
Written by R'Vannith on 17.06.2013 at 18:07

Written by Mr. Doctor on 17.06.2013 at 17:43

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 17.06.2013 at 16:41

Written by Daniell on 17.06.2013 at 16:38

It's just his singing annoys me a lot.

\and hence he is terrible/bad vocalist.
Good technique in itself does not make anyone good.


*Cough*Whitney Houston*Cough*
The topic does interest me though, if we just don't like the person's voice despite he/she doing everything right technically speaking, we can still say it's bad, right? under that light many people would say that, I don't know... King Diamond sucks (I don't mind him though, just an example of love/hate singer).


I think it's interesting too.. I mean if a vocalist does something right technically it doesn't necessarily mean that we have to like it. Voices vary and whether they appeal or not depend upon tastes as well as their possession of a significant amount of skill. You might find someone with a natural ability to sing without having trained it, and that "natural ability" is from someone else's perception of it sounding appealing and that they seem to have those technical skills already.

And about Solberg's voice. I think he's a great vocalist, he's improved from album to album and he's at his best on this one.

Completely agree with your sentiment here, as well as your review. Solberg's voice has improved noticeably on every album-- with this one, though, he is on his A-game. Foe is a beast.
mz - 19.06.2013 at 11:40  
Written by Westvann on 18.06.2013 at 12:49

I think the vocalist is a really good singer *flies away*

Do not fly away, I really think that he is a good singer but those "ah ah ah" parts annoy the shit out of me
Westvann - 19.06.2013 at 13:08  
I clearly understand what you mean. Those "ah ah ah" parts (why do I get the feeling I'm commenting a porn? ) is absolutely something of a certain taste. I like them, but I'm a weirdo anyways so
BloodTears - 19.06.2013 at 13:30  
I love Solberg's voice, it is one of the highlights of the album for me as it was on Bilateral. But you can't really fight taste, some people like it and some don't and that is perfectly fine.

I can have Leprous all for myself thank you
MechanisT - 12.08.2013 at 20:01  
What's this talk about Einar being a terrible singer? If anything, it's the one thing that has always elevated Leprous from being good to being great. His singing in Coal isn't anything other than that, either.
I, personally, am quite lukewarm to this album. Bilateral was excellent, and the previous two were very good as well. There's a flow intrusion to this one as opposed to their other works, which is quite marked and poses a major problem in me enjoying it fully. In all fairness, I am kinda underwhelmed (as with the newest Riverside).
R'Vannith - 13.08.2013 at 06:52  
Written by MechanisT on 12.08.2013 at 20:01

What's this talk about Einar being a terrible singer? If anything, it's the one thing that has always elevated Leprous from being good to being great. His singing in Coal isn't anything other than that, either.
I, personally, am quite lukewarm to this album. Bilateral was excellent, and the previous two were very good as well. There's a flow intrusion to this one as opposed to their other works, which is quite marked and poses a major problem in me enjoying it fully. In all fairness, I am kinda underwhelmed (as with the newest Riverside).


I think that flow intrusion has something to do with the focus on rhythmic variation, though Bilateral had its fair share of that the guitars achieved that flow, whereas I can't hear the same on this album.
trattorino - 20.08.2013 at 13:21  
I think this one and In Crescendo by Kingcrow are the top 2 prog releases of this year
R'Vannith - 20.08.2013 at 19:12  
Written by trattorino on 20.08.2013 at 13:21

I think this one and In Crescendo by Kingcrow are the top 2 prog releases of this year


I think they are two stellar albums for sure! Both bands have developed their sounds in new and exciting ways.
trattorino - 21.08.2013 at 10:53  
Yeah very different bands but to me they are the future of prog rock/metal
Lethrokai - 31.01.2014 at 12:34  
Welp, I guess it wouldn't help much if I mentioned that Einar has become my favourite vocalist of all time, simply due to his performances on both Bilateral and this record...

Seriously though, I'm HOPING these guys are the future of prog.

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