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2011 was an excellent year for progressive metal and all its associated sub-genres. Leprous add to the brilliance on show, offering up a poignant blend of Ihsahn, Pain of Salvation, Riverside, Wolverine and even Meshuggah. The Ihsahn comparison shouldn't come as much of a surprise, with a guest appearance from the man as well as the fact that the band are essentially his backing band.
Across Bilateral Leprous display almost no regard for genre boundaries, fusing a wide and eclectic array of influence into a sleek display of musical mastery. The performances are superlative across the board, with vocalist Einar Solberg showcasing his talent with superb range and delivery. The production is nice a clear, with a fine attention to detail, atmospheric sections segue into heavier parts in an airy almost dreamlike fashion.
From the opening gloss of the title track right up to the masterful "Painful Detour" with its striking chorus, Leprous take us on a journey just under an hour in length. This journey cascades through ornate musicianship, almost suffocating segments of atmosphere, into tastefully handled heavier parts. Some of the hooks and choruses have an almost pop-like sensibility in places and their complete disparagement for boundaries really reminds of Pain of Salvation at their middle-period best.
Leprous should be high up on the to-do list for any progressive metal fan, especially fans of the bands I mentioned earlier. I really enjoyed Bilateral, and feel the album boasts a certain charm that keeps you returning for repeated listens, as much bizarre as it is brilliant; a truly special release. Of course this is quite a specialist album, and I can't imagine it appealing to many outside of the progressive circles. Still, for what it is Bilateral is truly majestic.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com