[Review] Leprous – Aphelion

As usual for the band, after 2 years from the previous “Pitfalls,” on August 27, 2021 the new full-length by Leprous was released via InsideOut Music. Entitled “Aphelion” which is the point of the orbit of a planet in which this is at the maximum distance from the Sun; opposite to Perihelion. It contains 10 tracks for a total of over 56 minutes of music, marking another evolutionary step in the sound of the band, which is now increasingly deviating from the Prog Metal sounds of the origins. Difficult to define with a particular genre, this album gives continuity to the previous two, continuing in the research and innovation of original sounds and always projected towards the future. That Leprous is a band made up of artists gifted with a superfine compositional and executive technique is now well known and this recording chapter is no exception. In addition, in recent years they have given birth to a musical research that sees them evolve their sound with each release, refining what was the Prog Metal of the first albums. “Aphelion” immediately highlights the potential of the Norwegians with an engaging opener that enhances the vocal range of Solberg, skilled in adapting to the various situations of the album. Adaptability that will lead him to propose a section sung in growl in the final piece, the closest to the sounds of the beginning and composed with the support of their numerous fans. One of the characteristics of this album is the marked presence of the strings, which offer innovative sound solutions, as well as the choice to focus on more emotional and pathos-rich compositions. As you can guess, the choices of the band cannot always be shared by everyone, especially for the more electronic inserts and the sections furthest away from Heavy sounds, for me this evolution is instead apt. Knowing how to renew yourself and always propose something new, without losing your identity is not for everyone and Leprous are masters in this. In my humble opinion Progressive also means this, to always be able to propose new and refined sounds, even if today they are not completely appreciated, in the future certainly records like this will remain in the memory of those who love the genre. The tracks are very engaging, with less distorted guitars and softer interventions by Suhrke and Ognedal, nevertheless the intensity is not lacking with the string parts that add pomposity at times. Intensity that increases with the passing of minutes and the passing of the songs, giving the impression of starting on tiptoe and then releasing the energy as the album comes alive. The rhythmic session is solid, with tempo changes and passages that are always well articulated and precise, managing to mark the times well and creating incisive grooves. The darker atmospheres heard in the previous one seem to leave room, thanks to the massive presence of strings and keyboards, with more open and accessible sounds. Even the drafting of the tracks succeeds in the difficult task of streamlining and making the songs less intricate, despite the individual ideas being very elaborate and rich in high-level sound intertwining. The lyrics and the construction of the vocal parts is cleverly designed by Einar Solberg enhancing his extension, proving to be one of the best singers on the modern scene, well supported in the work by the choral parts which are also impeccable. Another evolution that you do not expect are the electronic inserts, which I found original and amalgamated very well with the sounds created by the other instruments and give more solutions, new and certainly projected towards the future. Overall I found this brilliant, energetic and at the same time delicate work, very mature and innovative, characteristics that in my opinion make Leprous‘ music something very rare. I hope that the listeners are able to grasp the positive details that I have found in the different plays that I have done, allowing me to appreciate the great work behind this album. A disc recommended to all lovers of the evolutions that the band has had in the latest releases, managing to bring the sound to the right balance between refinement, processing and accessibility that led me to judge this as a must for all today’s Proggers. I conclude my personal analysis of the disc by pointing out how each track on the disc is of excellent workmanship, managing to make the album appreciate in its entirety without drops or loss of intensity, congratulations to Leprous, they always manage to create something new and intense.

Tracklist

1. Running Low (6:30)
2. Out of Here (4:16)
3. Silhouette (3:45)
4. All the Moments (6:52)
5. Have You Ever? (4:42)
6. The Silent Revelation (5:45)
7. The Shadow Side (4:29)
8. On Hold (7:48)
9. Castaway Angels (4:53)
10. Nighttime Disguise (7:04)

Lineup

Einar Solberg / Lead Vocals, Synth
Tor Oddmund Suhrke / Guitar
Robin Ognedal / Guitar
Simen Daniel Børven / Bass
Baard Kolstad / Drums

With:
Henriette Lindstad Børven
/ Violin
Ellen Fjærvoll Samdal / Violin
Raphael Weinroth-Browne / Cello
Karen Suhrke / Cello
Pål Gunnar Fiksdal / Trumpet
Blåsemafiaen Brass Band / Brass

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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