It’s been two years since Norwegian prog sensation Leprous released their fourth album “Coal” in May 2013. I am not entirely sure how long it takes for a diamond to forms out of coal, but with their newest offering the Norwegians seem to be close to that new stage.
“The Congregation” is the band’s most prolific work out to date, and the band’s vocalist and keyboardist Einar Solberg agrees that the group’s fifth album is their most technical and mature effort so far. After “Coal” it was clear that whatever comes after the 2013’s recording will be a challenging task- the expectations were high, but the band gave the best answer by letting go the pressure and create an album in typical out-of-spontaneity Leprous record. And what’s that spontaneity about?
Precise, mathematic chops of drummer Baard Kolstad, and roaring, but nothing less calculative guitarwork of Tor Oddmund Suhrke and Oystein Landsverk, accompanied with distinctive voice of Solberg are the summary of what “The Congregation” brings with its eleven songs. Even with their early releases, Leprous never stuck on the ground by limiting themselves to certain standards. “The Congregation” builds on exploration the previous record initiated, and it all comes clear with the first bits of opening “The Price.” Leprous’ tendency to re-innovate with each new release and provide something fresh without looking back, but keeping strong ties with what brought them to the present day, shows itself in tunes such “Rewind” and “The Flood.” Baard Kolstad’s drumwork is not a providing rhythm section only, but he is rather present in the mix in equal measure as guitars. Once you hear the album, you will know what I am talking about. “The Congregation” explores wide spectre of emotions, often moving from place to place, to different ends of the spectre. “Red” is a great example of that shift in the album’s flow.
The most thorough effort in the band’s catalog, “The Congregation” will please both newcomers and die-hard fans of the band. With addition of this record to their opus, Leprous definitely places themselves high on the board of “must-see” live bands. And you are gonna get quite a lot of chances to see them live on the upcoming tours.
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1. The Price
2. Third Law
4. The Flood
6. Within My Fence