It’s not often these days that my mind is completely blown away by a musical album, but the latest output, Coal, from Norwegian progressive metallers Leprous did just that. Not once, not twice, but goddamn, the album rolls throughout the entire 60-minutes. I first caught a glimpse of the band at this year’s Tuska Open Air when they provided backing to Ihsahn. Not being that fond of the guy’s solo material, yet actually liking the show quite a bit, it made me think that they were actually playing songs off Coal at first, considering the band was overshadowing Ihsahn.

The album starts out a bit more theatrical, but then progresses into a harsher and more fierce movement at the end. However, it’s the mid-section that really holds no punches, as it takes emotional stabs with transitions that shockwave through the body and resonate long after the album is finished; “The Valley” and “Echo”, both clocking 9-minutes or so, are probably the best songs of the year. For example, when “Echo” takes a more active persona at the 4:30 mark, it’s a move that few bands have been able to pull off — and for the song to transform into the epic that it becomes… goddamn!

Musically Leprous operates in territories where Devin Townsend has been at his best — without the skullet — albeit the band also has its moments of delirium. While the title song “Coal” could fool almost anybody, it’s still not 1:1 at any point, as there’s the Norwegian genius thrown into the mix that seems to combine acts like Arcturus, Ulver, Winds, Green Carnation and Emperor (with a sprinkle of more mainstream acts like Muse and to-hell-with-it, Daft Punk). Much like the aforementioned acts, the thing goes from absolute beauty to sprouts of rage and then gathers all those mixed emotions into something that simply makes sense in the end. I don’t know, it’s hard to just put the band into a cone with a bunch of references around it, but what we’ve got here is indeed perfected and polished like a diamond; one that maintains all the blood, sweat and oppression that go with such beautiful things.

It’s not just that the songs work. The talent behind the instruments must be commended as each and everyone pulls their weight in gold, illustrating such a vastly mesmerizing journey. However, it’s the lead vocals from Einar Solberg that add such a strong layer on top of it all, and combined with his keyboards, the man is able to pierce right down to the very core of one’s anima — forcefully pulling reactions out like no other: Even a heterosexual (unless he’s not telling me something) friend of mine who avoids metal, and rarely has any favorable things to say, wanted to have sex with Solberg.

While diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, that shit doesn’t make the world go around. It’s Coal. For someone who seems hard to please and quite apathetic when it comes down to new music, the fact that I’m whimpering and emotionally exposed by Coal should be quite telling. This is the shit, folks.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
July 15th, 2013


  1. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Holy shit. a Mikko review!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    this is really unnerving music.

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