Leprous
The Congregation


4.0
excellent

Review

by OmairSh USER (22 Reviews)
May 26th, 2015 | 361 replies


Release Date: 05/25/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Progressive metal has become generic? The guys in Leprous would like to have a word with you.

There are many words that come to my mind when I think of Leprous, but a few that I feel aptly describe the band’s music are intense, experimental, and refreshing. I was absolutely blown away by the first two records, and I consider Bilateral to be one of the finest progressive metal albums of all time. The trajectory with which the band was musically progressing was spine snapping. Something had to give, and it eventually did with Coal. Coal is not a bad album by any means. It is enjoyable on many levels and possesses the intrinsic progressive spirit of the band, but it didn’t melt my brain like the previous two albums did. Now with The Congregation Leprous has achieved its most natural progression yet.

Some words that come to mind after multiple listens of The Congregation include “controlled” and “moody.” With Einar Soldberg (vocals, keyboards) beginning to compose the majority of the music from Coal, he had already asserted his desire to make more focused music. That trend began with Coal and has continued on The Congregation. There seems to be a conscious effort to trim any excess instrumental sections and to avoid deviating too much from the song’s core direction.

Einar’s vocals seem to be the focal point of the album. He seems to have composed the music to be a foundation for his stellar voice. Even though Einar hasn't added many new characteristics to his vocals apart from his new vicious growls, he still manages to give a great performance. He shows his large range and depth throughout. There are intense choruses and catchy vocal melodies sprinkled across the album, supported by great harmonies as always. The relatively conservative musical approach means there isn’t too much flair in the guitar or keyboard playing. That's not to say there aren't technical or intricate parts, just that there is a larger focus on melody and groove. The drumming is quite good and rhythmic in nature, with Baard Kolstad giving a dynamic performance that complements the music. The bass has performed a sort of “disappearing act” on every album, and it has outdone itself on this one. There are hardly any memorable bass lines that stand out unfortunately.

Overall you get the impression that the instruments are there to fulfill the primary purpose of the album, which is to compose memorable songs. They definitely succeed in meeting that objective. No instrument overshadows another, with a fine balance being achieved. However I can’t help but feel that if guitarists Tor and Oystein had been more involved in the songwriting, they would have added more dimensions to the songs with their intelligent guitar work. I was expecting more variety in the guitar tones and technique. Then there are a few moments where the music could have been elaborated on. On the plus side though the guitar tones employed are good, and again both 6 and 8 stringed guitars are part of the sonic arsenal.

Don't expect many radical moments that have been a staple of the band’s sound. While the music has experimental elements such as the sludgy riffs on 'The Flood' or the unconventional tom-tom heavy grooves on 'Triumphant' and 'Within My Fence', they aren’t as off kilter as those on the previous albums. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. There are also moments which showcase Leprous’ uncanny ability to meld seemingly unrelated musical styles, such as 'Rewind's' final section. Although there aren’t too many other sections in a similar vein, on this album you get explorations of ambiance and odd rhythmic patterns instead. These are very effective in their own right. The production is reminiscent of Coal, although with a little less punch, and the musicianship is as tight as you’d expect. The mix can feel unbalanced at times though unfortunately.

Ultimately, once you accept the band’s more refined direction on this album, it begins to make sense in the context of Leprous' ever evolving discography. The Congregation highlights the moodier side of the band and shows a band that is maturing and solidifying it's identity. I admire the band’s ability to never repeat itself and to truly embody the word "progressive." The reason Leprous stands out in the progressive scene is because it has so many flavours to its music and isn't afraid to challenge itself. The Congregation ends up being another fine edition to Leprous' catalogue and ensures that the band remains head and shoulders above its peers.



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user ratings (366)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
theChickenCow (4)
A highly abstract prog offering, proof that, sometimes, less could be more....

Brandon Rios (4)
Better than Coal, but still falls short of surpassing Bilateral. Nevertheless, The Congregation is a...

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Bilateral

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recommended by reviewer
Leprous Coal

Comments:Add a Comment 
OmairSh
May 25th 2015


14139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

‘The Price’ - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G9Qd_84YZs



‘Rewind’ - https://soundcloud.com/officialinsideoutmusic/leprous-rewind



There's no album stream unfortunately.



If you have the opportunity to see them live, do it. You will have your mind blown.

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2015


12779 Comments


heaven and earth >>

OmairSh
May 25th 2015


14139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Obviously there's no comparison

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2015


12779 Comments


brought back the classic av just for this occasion tbh

OmairSh
May 25th 2015


14139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

That's what I'm talking about. You must zoom into it slowly as well otherwise the effect won't be the same.

beefshoes
May 25th 2015


6819 Comments


Nice review.
This and Coal are both about equally as enjoyable for me.

Frippertronics
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2015


12779 Comments


will do it over a two week period and see if anybody notices

will be reviewing the new yes live probably

it's been a whole year since their masterpiece, micah68-approved, generation-changing avant-prog pop masterwork Heaven and Earth graced my ears for the first time

OmairSh
May 25th 2015


14139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks beef, yeah I think it's the natural successor to Coal. Some of the choruses on here are fandamtastic.



@fripp: Sounds like a plan. It's been a while since I've jammed Yes tbh

theChickenCow
May 25th 2015


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hey man, good review. It seems that we agree on most things

Sorry for the inconvenience though. Is there a thread were people post if they intend to review sth? I am new here and still learning the ropes.

OmairSh
May 25th 2015


14139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Haha don't worry about it dude, I was just messing around. Yeah we definitely agree on most things. I'm really liking the groove on Moon. The constant moving feeling reminds me of the drumming on Waste of Air.



I want more people to hear this so we can start bitching about it already

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2015


4408 Comments


thank you for this gift based ommy

now, to rejam coal before listening to this....



OmairSh
May 25th 2015


14139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

My pleasure. I consider it my duty to share Leprous updates m/



Album feels a bit like the antithesis of Bilateral in that it doesn't seem like much is happening after the first few listens, whereas Bilateral doesn't even make sense initially. Both are growers though.

Spag
May 25th 2015


2450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good review!

TheSpaceMan
May 26th 2015


8512 Comments


terrible review, terrible band, terrible user, pos'd :D

LunaticSoul
May 26th 2015


974 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Good review man, I'm not really into this disc as much as I couldn't get into 'Coal'. The disc length doesn't help and you just notice even more the lack of pace/diversity imho, I really get bored right after 'Red' ends and can't enjoy any of the last tracks

Piripichotes
May 26th 2015


342 Comments


"Red" is a killer track, but the rest of the album is meh... Some songs are too long and repetitive... It's a shame, since production and vocals own.

emester
May 26th 2015


8107 Comments


Didnt really dig the two singles released so im pretty hesitant to check this out. Really is a shame since Bilateral is one of my favorite progressive metal records ever. Reception has been pretty good on here so i guess i'll give it a try

PistolPete
May 26th 2015


4309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally got my hands on this last night. Gonna blast this at work all day.



PUMP DIS SHIT PUMP DIS SHIT

Digging: Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory

CaptainDooRight
May 26th 2015


2165 Comments


afraid to listen


TzarChasm
May 26th 2015


268 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This is Leprous' best album by far. Even Bilateral has pretty average material on it, but the only song on The Congregation that I'd rate less than 4 stars individually is "Third Law," which is still perfectly serviceable.



The Congregation is an AOTY 2015 contender, in my book.



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