Leprous
Tall Poppy Syndrome

With only a demo in 2004 and a self-released album in 2006, Norway’s Leprous have chimed in on Sensory Records with an impressive debut album. Completely confident with their playing abilities and experimental nature, this band is going to be something to look out for in the near future.

Tall Poppy Syndrome maybe the bands first real leap, but the band members are no stranger to the Norwegian metal community. Lead vocalist/keyboardist Einar Solberg was hired for Emperors 2006/2007 reunion shows, and the entire band has recently played as Ihsahn’s live band -a baffling task I’m sure. So obviously, Leprous know their way around their instruments and it shows on this release.

Though, firmly nestled within the more progressive elements of metal/rock music, experimentation is upfront and personal on Tall Poppy Syndrome. Honestly, Leprous are completely original. There certainly is no single sub-genre to place them in and though similar to bands like Opeth, Winds, and Porcupine Tree, their sound has its own aura with song structures and chord progressions completely different than the aforementioned acts. Diving into swing/lounge/jazz/classical/death metal/black metal/ and prog, you’d think a band like this would be all over the place and hard to grasp. Nothing could be further from the truth as hooks are used in a variety of spots and their abilities never get the best of them.

Piano inhabits a lot of this record and is done in a fluttery classical style at time similar to Winds. Other times it brings a lounge vibe to the music and on occasion synths remit fantastic atmosphere.

My only gripe with Leprous at the moment lies within their vocal delivery. Einar Solbergs voice is very clean and delicate. He has a higher pitched voice, which is nothing strange when it comes to progressive music, and it is definitely not a bad voice, but it is somewhat irritating to me and doesn’t fit right at times. When the band actually plunges into death metal or black metal rasps it sounds so much better. Maybe it’s just my taste but one thing that keeps me from really loving this band is his vocals. On the other hand, if they were to utilize the extreme vocals all the time, I fear they would sound too much like Opeth or Ihsahn. So, the band actually sets themselves apart from numerous acts with their unique sound.

Tall Poppy Syndrome is complex music to describe. Leprous are the real deal for people who enjoy experimentation and progressive metal. All I can say is give this record a spin. This is certainly an excellent debut album and we should be prepared to hear great things from this band in the future.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shane Wolfensberger
July 15th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: timshel

    This is some good stuff — especially for a debut! — but I’m not sure I’d agree that the music is completely original; rather, it sounds to me more like a novel assembly of other bands’ music. I would compare this record to Dark Suns’ last release: it’s a quality set of songs that recall so many other acts that the band’s own identity is never established.

    And I actually preferred the clean vocals over the harsh ones here. My prediction is that they drop the growls entirely on the next album.


  2. Commented by: Staylow

    Those clean vocals are exactly why I couldn’t get into this album. It’s excellent musically though.


  3. Commented by: shane

    Yeah, maybe “completely original” was too much.


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