Leprous
Pitfalls


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trey STAFF
October 23rd, 2019 | 408 replies


Release Date: 10/25/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pitfalls is a vocal-driven, synth-laden, exercise in everything prog can be when a band isn’t scared to break from convention.

Let’s address the main criticism facing Pitfalls so we can move on. It’s not an exaggeration to say Pitfalls could have been an Einar Solberg (Vocals, Synths) solo album. With one exception, he’s solely responsible for writing all of the music on Pitfalls. Also, for the first time, he’s responsible for a vast majority of the lyrics, as well. Additionally, every song is dominated by synth, keyboards, and programmed beats – all of which he plays – and they’re entirely vocal driven. The reality of the situation, though, is Pitfalls is not a solo album, it is the sixth album by Norwegian progressive metal masters, Leprous. It is also a huge step away from anything else they’ve done; even the electronics-laden Malina.

If nothing else, Pitfalls eases into Leprous’ new sound with opening track “Below”. “Below” is a slow-building, brooding, track that eventually explodes into a soaring chorus that showcases Einar’s full upper register. It’s also one of the most conventional songs on the album, despite its brief use of funk and dance influences. It’s really the next song, “I Lose Hope” where Leprous establish just how far away from their core sound they’re willing to go. When I hear “I Lose Hope” it reminds me of a sullen disco song played at half-speed. It has the grooving swagger, the foot-tapping bass line, synth-drenched accompaniment, and a rhythmic vocal delivery – yet it’s still a dark sounding track overall. If there is an overarching formula to Pitfalls it’s melancholic dance music, soaring vocals, pop sensibilities, and occasional bouts of something close to progressive metal.

The thing is, despite something akin to a ‘formula’, each track utilizes the elements in different ways and ratios giving each song its own sound. ‘Observe the Train’ is another slow, melancholic track, but instead of building to a climax like “Below” it is content to revel in its atmosphere – which sounds like a depressing, spectral, Christmas song. “By My Throne” alternates between a groovy dance beat and playful progressive rhythms, “At the Bottom” uses programmed beats and layers of synth for the verses and a jarring metal chorus… and so it goes for every song in its own way. The one consistent element from song to song are the vocals of Einar Solberg. His voice is the main driving element for each song, and he has taken up the challenge with gusto. Over the course of the album, he delivers soft whispers, melancholic croons, and powerful upper register singing that makes his previous melodramatic outings seem tame in comparison.

Pitfalls is not a progressive metal album by any conventional definition of the genre, but it is absolutely progressive. There’s no other way to describe the way Leprous has been able to take their particular brand of melancholic prog, inject it with pop, dance and electronic music, and still come out the other side with something new and refreshing that is absolutely Leprous – and it’s not like they’ve completely abandoned conventional prog. There are plenty of places where the band shine through, and no amount of electronics, pop, or groove can drag this band from the dark atmospheres they’ve always reveled in. Pitfalls is a vocal-driven, synth-laden, exercise in everything prog can be when a band isn’t scared to break from convention.



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user ratings (214)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
October 23rd 2019


17986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They released this promo very early, and I quickly figured out why. It took every listen and all this time to allow this album to totally sink in. It's definitely different for Leprous or just about anything else I've heard, but it's also really good once you get past the musical elements Leprous gave up or diminished to make this album.

Digging: Hypno5e - A Distant (Dark) Source

Beardog
October 23rd 2019


3166 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

HYPED



Not every song was written by Einar though, they had this video where they discussed Distant Bells, which was mostly written by Simen, the bass-player

Digging: Dayseeker - Sleeptalk

Itwasthatwas
October 23rd 2019


2074 Comments


Based on what you’re describing this sounds terrible

vermillionZ
October 23rd 2019


261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sounds interesting for sure. I'm kinda skeptical, but I'll give it a fair chance on Friday.

Digging: Leprous - Pitfalls

qwenta
October 23rd 2019


342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sounds horrible.

Digging: Tool - Fear Inoculum

Toondude10
October 23rd 2019


14115 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

very excited for this

Digging: Norma Jean - All Hail

sizeofanocean
October 23rd 2019


1569 Comments


Oh boy, this sounds like it will be very dividing. Quite a new thing for them, since their albums so far are all very beloved

Pikazilla
October 23rd 2019


6277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Disappointment of the year for me. The first Leprous album I don't love.

TheNotrap
October 23rd 2019


12221 Comments


"Pitfalls is a vocal-driven, synth-laden, exercise..." "It’s not an exaggeration to say Pitfalls could have been an Einar Solberg (Vocals, Synths) solo album"

That's exactly what I felt when I heard the singles.
Nice review, as always.

Digging: Schammasch - Hearts of No Light

qwenta
October 23rd 2019


342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The first paragraph is a punch in the face, big disappointment. I will avoid this album some time.

Willie
Moderator
October 23rd 2019


17986 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

--Not every song was written by Einar though, they had this video where they discussed Distant Bells, which was mostly written by Simen, the bass-player--

Yeah, that's why I said,"With one exception, he’s solely responsible for writing all of the music on Pitfalls." I just didn't get into who did what one the one song.



--Oh boy, this sounds like it will be very dividing. Quite a new thing for them, since their albums so far are all very beloved --

Yeah, it definitely threw me off at first. It took a lot of listening before it started growing. At least part of that is due to what I was expecting versus what was actually on the album. It did grow on me, though.



--That's exactly what I felt when I heard the singles. Nice review, as always.--

It wasn't just the singles. The first video for "Below" was basically Einar through the entire thing until the very end. That was very telling to me. There was also an interview video where Einar says, "We decided..." and the guitarist corrects him and says, "He decided. We were informed..." or something like that.

sizeofanocean
October 23rd 2019


1569 Comments


That doesn't sound like they were that fond about that though... maybe they are sticking around for this creative change because they love playing live? I would feel kind of undermined if everything came from one guy, given that the band did group efforts earlier

TheNotrap
October 23rd 2019


12221 Comments


"Einar says, "We decided..." and the guitarist corrects him and says, "He decided. We were informed..." or something like that."
It seems Einar's overemphasis could be causing some discomfort in the band.


Pikazilla
October 23rd 2019


6277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm just hoping this will be a one-off thing for them.

sizeofanocean
October 23rd 2019


1569 Comments


It seems Einar's overemphasis could be causing some discomfort in the band.

Exactly how i see it. How could someone be all that comfortable with this?

Pikazilla
October 23rd 2019


6277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, imagine you played in a band and one dude took over the creative process with full disregard for everyone else's opinions.

qwenta
October 23rd 2019


342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Einar must be fired.

Pikazilla
October 23rd 2019


6277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No, they just need to work collaboratively again. Einar is a great vocalist.

thedoom
October 23rd 2019


329 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

„Einar must be fired“

lmao

qwenta
October 23rd 2019


342 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

He's trying to make the band his solo proyect. It's gonna be a torture to see them live, I didn't like Angel's cover this summer, out of place, and now this...

The band is not gonna end the tour, they will break up.



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