Leprous
Bilateral


5.0
classic

Review

by Pistol Pete USER (32 Reviews)
March 1st, 2014 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An absolutely epic, twisting, and thrilling adventure from start to finish and some of the best music modern progressive rock has to offer.

Leprous’ Bilateral is the direct antithesis to the line of thought that someone could actually reach a point where they have “heard everything”. For anyone who actively seeks to discover new music and push beyond their comfort zone, music-searching can become almost a cyclical phenomenon. Albums come along every so often that shatter any expectations you might have had, and kick-start newfound enthusiasm about a particular genre or band. Then, after that’s been exhausted, comes the quiet lull where a listener yearns for something different, growing tired of everything they hear before stumbling upon a new kind of masterpiece. Albums like these are the resulting prize of the restless searching we undergo in order to find that newfound enthusiasm. Bilateral is a masterpiece of modern progressive rock.

This is the third album by the Norwegian outlet and their magnum opus. It’s an album that tests what you know about progressive rock and music in general. It ambitiously strives to do all it can within the confinements of its ten songs, with its instrumentation being some of the best the genre has ever offered up. And if the album art is any indication, it’s also one of the most random and unpredictable albums you’ll ever hear...in the best kind of way. “Forced Entry” does not start the way anyone would expect a 10-minute long progressive rock song to start. This genre is full of bands that thrive by building up songs from slow moody intros into emotional peaks and climaxes. Leprous show they have an entirely different agenda at work here. It flies at you like a punch to the face with hyperactive synths and an almost djent-influenced riff slicing in and out of the chaotic concoction. Vocalist Einar Solberg uses this track to showcase the many different sides of his vocals, from impossibly high notes to deep bellowing screams in order to keep pace with the changing tempos – he is truly a force to be reckoned with. And just for good measure, as if the song hadn’t already accomplished enough, Leprous fits in a guitar solo mid-way through and a jaw-dropping climax near the end as he triumphantly yells “Sit back, relax / Let me enter the core / I’ve opened the door!”

And it only gets weirder from there. “Thorn” starts with a quiet respite before some horns enter the fray to announce the mayhem that is to come. The harmonies on this track are stellar and Solberg’s vocals once again effortlessly match the constantly changing pace from delicate interludes to punishingly fast heavy guitar and pounding drums. Later on, “Waste of Air” kicks off with harsh vocals over a stomping beat before progressing into an absolutely epic interlude. The chugging guitar is eventually met with a squealing higher-pitched guitar leading into a drawn out segment that builds up over time. And when I say drawn out, I mean VERY drawn out. This piece of the song builds up without any vocals for over two minutes straight. And while bands like Neurosis obviously make a living off of building up songs for longer than that, the sheer intensity that gathers over the course of those two minutes is astounding. The listener becomes so restless in anticipation during that segment – it’s as if a bomb is going to go off. And with a band like Leprous, that seems entirely reasonable to expect. You’d think after that, the band would be all out of tricks. However, the following track “Mediocrity Wins” fools you once again by spending its first two minutes in a trippy psychedelic atmosphere, with ominous chanting amidst low moody bass.

Randomness, for what it’s worth, is typically refreshing. But a band cannot simply thrive off of randomness. At some point, they need to show they can embody the basic spirit of the genre, and not just throw stuff at the wall hoping it’ll stick. Enter the masterpiece that is “Mb. Indifferentia”, a powerful ballad that showcases exactly what progressive rock is all about. Leprous builds up the song with adept precision from its roots of soft piano and subtle percussions into a delicate vocal performance, a gentle swimming guitar and finally a spectacular climax to finish. When Solberg cries out that final “Do nothing at all!”, there’s this feeling of victory, as if it could very well be one of the most emotional peaks ever reached in the progressive rock genre. There is no second’s hesitation in labelling it on that level either, it’s that powerful.

When I hear an album that tries this many different sounds and executes them so flawlessly, there’s always this thought that comes into my head on the first listen. It’s an unfair, pessimistic thought. How can the band keep this up? Surely, in these last few songs...SOMETHING has to falter. How can a band just keep going at this rate? It’s a very difficult task. Even the best bands sometimes don’t know how to finish an album where they’ve been on the entire time, losing it in the very final moments. I feel comfortable in saying you have no need to worry when it comes to Bilateral. It’s the real deal, an album that does practically everything phenomenally well and never falters once, as hard as that may be to believe. You’ll just have to take the plunge and listen to this riveting musical adventure in order to prove me wrong.



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user ratings (196)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Duffluc (4)
Bilateral is an experience that should not be missed by any fan of progressive music....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
PistolPete
February 28th 2014


3630 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This album has been an addiction for months now. It broke my very looonnnggg drought of not rating anything a 5. It makes me happy I can still find music THIS good.

Digging: O'Brother - Garden Window

bloc
February 28th 2014


34927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Forgot about this lol

Funeralopolis
February 28th 2014


11613 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Very good album like a 3.8 for me

Digging: Black Milk - If There's a Hell Below

undertakerpt
March 1st 2014


1352 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

forced entry is a beast, love mediocrity wins aswell, great voice. thanks omairsh for showing me these

good idea - licking a lollipop

bad idea - licking a plug socket

undertakerpt
March 1st 2014


1352 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

forced entry is a beast, love mediocrity wins aswell, great voice. thanks omairsh for showing me these

good idea - licking a lollipop

bad idea - licking a plug socket

PistolPete
March 1st 2014


3630 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

yeah OmairSh has been the ambassador for this album for a while now, his work has paid off this band officially has a new fan

OmairSh
March 1st 2014


11579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

A new Leprous review? And a 5?! It's a good day. Spag and Conesmoke have been bigger ambassadors of this album than I have, I merely helped them carry that torch.

Pwalcher, I didn't recognise you with your new name

Digging: Anacrusis - Manic Impressions

PistolPete
March 1st 2014


3630 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Lol...it was time for a change. I made that name over 3 years ago when I joined the site.

Man...even "Coal" ranked high on my 2013 YE list. This band is just the tits.

OmairSh
March 1st 2014


11579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Your TPS ranking is difficult to look at though. That albums very powerful and good imo. Yeah I expect big things from this band, they better not be a band that ends up in the dumps after a few terrific albums.

PistolPete
March 1st 2014


3630 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yeah TPS could just be a grower, I do still listen to it, it just didn't impact me as much as this one did. Did you ever check out Aeolia? Worth a look?

OmairSh
March 1st 2014


11579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think all their albums are growers, that's what makes this band so interesting after numerous listens. Nah I haven't properly checked that out.

TzarChasm
March 1st 2014


152 Comments


This album opens up so strongly; the title track is stupidly catchy. Leprous owned me from the start. Bilateral is a much better album than Coal is.

Robinanimate
March 2nd 2014


10 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Agreed. Bilateral is a modern day classic. Pos.

Spag
March 2nd 2014


1810 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

My niggas. Thanks for the heads up Omair

Digging: Manes - Be All End All

OmairSh
July 12th 2014


11579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Jammed after a while, face melted yet again. Dammit

Diamondize
July 12th 2014


1367 Comments


haven't jammed this in a minute that needs to change such a good album

emester
July 12th 2014


3960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Forced entry is just holy fuck

Digging: Niechec - Smierc w miekkim futerku

OmairSh
July 12th 2014


11579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It ripped me a new asshole. The last section is so fucking sublime, and those vocals, fucking hell.
Painful Detour is also sheer brilliance, it has best instrumental section of the album

LET ME ENTER COOOOOOOOORRRREEEEEEE!!!!!!

PistolPete
August 11th 2014


3630 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I don't think I've ever 5'd an album with such certainty in my life. After two listens it was like "yup, it deserves it".

emester
August 11th 2014


3960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Blood Musics doing a limited Vinyl press of this. Gotta get my hands on it



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