Leprous
Tall Poppy Syndrome


3.5
great

Review

by Frederick Metzengerstein USER (202 Reviews)
June 27th, 2009 | 41 replies | 12,893 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sounds like Opeth making sweet love to a Norwegian lady and having a child with duplicate genes.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

Progressive extreme metal. Generally this means the blending of black/death metal with outside the box influences such as progressive rock, jazz, flamenco, and basically any other genre you can think of. The Scandinavian region is particularly inclined towards this style. Sweden has Opeth and now In Mourning. Finland has Ikuinen Kaamos and possibly Amorphis although they continue to go softer with each release. Denmark (debatably) has Mercenary. And now Norway has Leprous. Although technically, Enslaved fits the bill just as smoothly. Let’s get to the belle of the ball shall we? Leprous is a Norwegian progressive metal band that owes just as much to King Crimson and Pink Floyd as they do to Opeth and Pain Of Salvation. Forming in 2001, Leprous have released just one album in an eight year span. However, the quality of musicianship displayed on their debut album Tall Poppy Syndrome more than makes up for the long wait.

Like fellow Viking raiders Opeth, Leprous share a penchant for soft to heavy dynamics and light to dark shades of melancholy and aggression. Mostly because the two bands share the same influences (whether it be by coincidence or design) in 1970’s progressive acts such as King Crimson and Pink Floyd. Leprous are more than a Opeth clone however, they often display bouts of outstanding brilliance and a personality of their own through excellent musicianship and songwriting. Amongst the fluctuation of clean guitar melodies and lumbering riffage lies a skillful clean to harsh vocal performance with spellbinding piano melodies outlining the progressive structures. Oh, and they’re not afraid to throw in some (most likely keyboard produced) organ sounds for good measure. Like In Mourning, Leprous impress you with their abilities to craft magnificent opuses despite having only released one full length album.

In terms of greatest metal guitar performance in 2009 I feel hard-pressed to pick a band other than Leprous who features an extremely talented duo in Tor Oddmund Suhrke and Oystein Landsverk. Their vision for creating elegant melodies and heartfelt soloing fail in comparison to their prowess of harnessing the almighty riff. Opening track “Passing” rages with dirge like vigor before seamlessly shifting to mellow strumming and clean vocals. Their ability to weave in and out through heavy and melodic sections comes off as child’s play, easily rivaling Opeth’s finest moments. With front man Einar Solberg’s (Emperor) enchanting piano melodies either outlining the guitars or taking the lead, the band’s melodic prowess strengthens tenfold.

The vocals aspect is clearly the last piece of the puzzle that needs to be improved on in an otherwise outstanding band performance. The vocals both clean and harsh are divided between main singer/keyboardist Einar and guitar players Tor and Oystein. Unfortunately, none of them conjures the grand majesty of Maikel Akerfeldt. Often the smooth crooning of Einar comes off as irritating and cheesy. There are exceptions though as the opening track offers the album’s most enjoyable verses and choruses while “Not Even A Name“ quickly follows suit for second best track. In the album closer “White“, a distinct Garm influence is heard offering a pleasing sound to the ears. The shouting is also quite unnecessary. Fortunately there isn’t enough of it to detract the overall strength of the record. Growling albeit sparingly used is more effective than the metal core-ish shout in providing the balls out metal sections.

Drumming is stellar thanks in part to Tobias Andersen and his consistently efficient style of play. Opting for a no blast beats in your face diet, he holds a steady rhythm and provides a steady stream of double bass. Capable of standing out on his own, Tobias generally just complements the tempo shifts and stop start rhythms resulting in a solid team effort rather than trying to stand out. Also worth mentioning is his cymbal tapping duet with the piano in the track “He Will Kill Again”. Amazing. Solidifying the rhythm section is bassist Halvor Strand. Emitting a solid heavy tone, his earthy protrusions add another layer of “interesting” to the densely layered atmosphere.

Production is once again quite shocking for a debut. Professional grade mixing was given to Tall Poppy Syndrome and it shows. The melodies are pristine, the vocals are powerful with the lyrics delivered intelligibly, bass and drums are tightly wound, and the heavy riffs are slathered in grease oil yet still retain some extremity. I suppose it’s fitting considering the professionalism found in every other department for the record. Overall, Tall Poppy Syndrome is one of the coolest debut albums that I’ve heard in a long time. Well, at least since 2008’s Shrouded Divine. Featuring memorable songwriting and impressive musicianship, Leprous are poised for bigger and better things in the future. Fans of Opeth, Pain Of Salvation, Ulver, Ikuinen Kaamos, and In Mourning need apply.



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user ratings (99)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Relinquished
June 27th 2009



24924 Comments


Probably will check this out later. Me like Opeth, Ulver, and In Mourning.

Tyler
Emeritus
June 27th 2009



7926 Comments


It's not worth the effort. It's good but very run of the mill.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2009



8327 Comments


good review, probably will check it out sometime later

BallsToTheWall
June 28th 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The execution is great but as you said. Run of the mill.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2009



8327 Comments


well if it really is so run of the mill then i actually guess I will not bother

BallsToTheWall
June 28th 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's a 3.5 is it not. At least acquire the first song. Passing is aamzing. Tracks 7 and 8 also rule.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2009



8327 Comments


well I really don't have the will to mess with individual songs usually so i guess I'll still end up checking out the whole album

SCREAM!
June 28th 2009



10035 Comments


Ill myspace this because your description of the instruments makes me want to hear this but then the description of the singing makes me want to forget about it

Digging: Old Witch - Come Mourning Come

BallsToTheWall
June 28th 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Let me know what you think.

SCREAM!
June 28th 2009



10035 Comments


Listened to Passing. Vocals were alright.
Instruments are very good but they play pretty standard stuff for this kind of music.
I found that the slow sections dragged on tbh. But the heavier parts were excellent

Babyss
August 20th 2009



66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

after i gave it a second thought i realized that this album is original and worth my time. The voice reminds me of arcturus, the music is somehow eclectic , a blend of many elements and genres.

fatguymercenary
August 21st 2009



6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a top class debut album, in my opinion there isn’t a bad song on the album. The potential they display is huge. I am already looking forward to their next release.

Etrius
August 12th 2011



49 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

amazing prog metal. good review. fans of .... pain of salvation....in mourning need apply. so true. thanks and kudos


conesmoke
February 5th 2012



5198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wouldn't say this album is 'run of the mill'. For a sophomore release it's actually quite impressive. Sure it sounds like a blend of opeth and arcturus at times, but more often then not Leprous manage to find their own sound. solid 4/5.

Spag
July 17th 2012



1737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ Agreed!

Digging: Opeth - Pale Communion

conesmoke
January 7th 2013



5198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Such a splendid album.

BallsToTheWall
January 7th 2013



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah too bad they went gay after this.

conesmoke
January 7th 2013



5198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Havn't given bilateral much attention tbh. What's gay about it?

Spag
March 10th 2013



1737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There's nothing gay about it lol. it's a lot better than this one imo

conesmoke
March 11th 2013



5198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well then it must be damn good, because this rules face.



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