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Leprous - Malina Award winner

by Chen May at 01 October 2017, 10:47 PM

Being one of the most successful Progressive Metal bands to originate from Scandinavia, the Norwegian quintet LEPROUS is all set to enthrall fans again with their fifth studio album “Malina”. Unlike its predecessors, “Malina” is completely devoid of screams and employs a rather mainstream sound in some of its tracks. Nevertheless, it still retains the band’s signature styles, such as the employment of unconventional time signatures and the use of falsetto vocals. It is also the first album to feature new guitarist Robin Ognedal.

 “Bonneville” has a slow, soothing start; it does not get intense until halfway through the track, where the tempo speeds up and the drumming gets much heavier. There is a major shift in the tone of the vocals too – as they commence with a delicate approach and evolve into a much more powerful deliverance. “Stuck” is a rather poignant track that is capable of making one contemplate his or her pace of life. The cello solo near the end of the song coats the entire track with a symphonic vibe, dusting it with an additional layer of melancholy to an already wistful composition.

The incredibly memorable “From The Flame” is one of this album’s highlights. Even though some might find the chorus to be a bit on the repetitive side, Einar’s excellent utilization of his chest voice and falsettos and his overall emotional performance makes up for this repetitiveness. It certainly has a catchy, Pop-influenced hook to it, making it one of the band’s more “mainstream” songs. “Captive” follows with a staccato, snare-filled intro that leads to a chorus of soaring vocals and high-octane melodies.

Likewise, “Illuminate’s” choppy synth intro and staccato chorus bring a certain sense of catchiness and memorability. It is a standard Prog Metal affair, made up of unconventional beats that are very much a staple of a LEPROUS production. Sensual and dreamy, “Leashes’” opening is filled with the soft plucking of guitar strings and delicate vocals that soon crescendo into a passionate and anguish-filled chorus. “Mirage” probably has one of the most attention-grabbing intros amongst the 11 tracks on this album. Its enchanting, synthesized intro juxtaposed with the drum roll that comes after it provides a slick transition point towards a rhythmic mass of electronica and riffs. Its upbeat chorus even contains a robust hint of Pop Rock within it, making it one of the most unusual tracks on this album. The drum solo by Baard is another highlight of this track.

Not your traditional power ballad, the title track “Malina” is backed with soft synths. Einar’s voice is exceptionally tender in this tune, but there are also moments where his singing slowly gains in aggression and power.  The song eventually speeds up with rapid drumming, bringing with it a sense of urgency.  “Coma” possesses lots of elements that reminds one of LEPROUS’ last album “The Congregation”. Dynamic and full of surprises, it is aggressive yet melodic, wistful yet impactful, and perhaps the heaviest song on this album. “The Weight Of Disaster” has Einar demonstrating his balance between grace and ferocity, although the song gradually becomes heavier as time moves on.  “The Last Milestone” has a uniquely gothic atmosphere, thanks to the cello accompaniment that complements the airy falsettos. It is a haunting, ethereal ballad, to the point of stirring one’s emotions. It does make for an appropriate closing track after the emotional journey that is “Malina”.

LEPROUS has once again achieved success with the release of “Malina”. Einar’s exquisite vocal range, the utilization of cellos, and the superb drumming all make for a stunning Prog masterpiece. The absence of screams and harsh singing on this album is in fact a plus factor as well. After all, screaming is not exactly Einar’s forte. Also, by applying a less abrasive approach to its sound, “Malina” serves as a proper introductory album to new listeners of LEPROUS.

Whether one listens to Progressive Metal or not, “Malina” should definitely be on the top of every music listener’s list!

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Bonneville
2. Stuck
3. From the Flame
4. Captive
5. Illuminate
6. Leashes
7. Mirage
8. Malina
9. Coma
10. The Weight of Disaster
11. The Last Milestone
Einar Solberg – Vocals/Keyboards
Tor Oddmund Suhrke - Guitars
Baard Kolstad - Drums
Simen Daniel Børven - Bass
Robin Ognedal – Guitars
Record Label: InsideOut Music


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