Review: Malina by Leprous

By Yarin Cohen exclusively for World Prog-Nation

There are only a few bands that I’m truly excited to hear new music from, and one of them is definitely Leprous. Can you really find bands that sound like Leprous? not only are they unique in sound and approach, but all of their releases are strong and Malina is definitely no exception.

To be perfectly honest with you, the first listen was a little weird. I see their discography as different stages in their creative career. The first stage includes Tall Poppy Syndrome and Bilateral. The second stage includes Coal and The Congregation which took that basic Leprous sound and took it to a whole new level, adding new elements to the band’s signature sound. Malina is definitely the next stage of Leprous music as we know it, which is why it was weird listening to it for the first time. It was just different.

I Started Listening to Leprous before the release of The Congregation and my first album was Coal, so obviously I’m more drawn to that album . Only time will tell but right now I think Malina is their strongest release. Some reviewers say this album is a return to the band’s roots, but I disagree. I think it’s closer to their latest releases rather than their first releases, but at the same time, this release definitely marks a new creative stage in the band’s life.

I think picking “From the Flame” as a lead single was a very good choice. Because it represents the creative elements that stayed the same and the ones that evolved. The epic and catchy choruses, combined with intricate, interesting and complicated verses are definitely Leprous trademarks and this album features many of them, from songs like “From The Flame” to songs like “Leashes” and “The Weight Of Disaster”. Also, I noticed that the guitar sound is different in style probably because of the recent addition of Robin Ognedal as a full time member, replacing the great Øystein Landsverk.

After listening to the album one time, I listened to it for another 3 times straight and it was only then when I started  to understand what kind of album I was hearing. It was hard for me to wrap my head around it when I first listened to it, but after a few listens I was hooked.

What more can I say? the album is very well produced, and feels complete. (even though I believe Leprous should write longer albums). This album also introduces a more atmospheric vibe in some of the songs. It features a lot of soft moments as well as heavy moments. Overall it’s quite balanced, but less dark than Coal and The Congregation.

Let’s start going over the songs:

  1. “Bonneville” – this is the first song on the album, and the start of it is very sudden. Some say it’s a bit misplaced. That’s what i thought at first, but after a few listens I think it fits quite nicely. Same thing happened to me with “Foe”, the opening track from Coal. The first half of the song is kind of quiet and disoriented. It builds up to the second half that’s a lot more heavy and aggressive. It took me a few listens to wrap my head around it, but it’s a classic Leprous song.
  2. “Stuck” – this is the second single they’ve released. One of my favorites on the album. Very catchy and complicated at the same time. Unbelievably creative.
  3. “From The Flame” – first single they’ve released.  I think this song is a nice representation of the entire album, with elements that remained from previous releases but with new elements added.
  4. “Captive” – Classic Leprous song, that could’ve been featured in any of their previous releases.
  5. “Illuminate” – Classic Leprous riffs, but very different at the same time. very interesting track with great choruses, featuring cool electronics and atmospheric verses.
  6. “Leashes” – HUGE chorus. this could’ve easily become one of the leading singles. This is one of these songs with an epic feel to them, like “Echo” or “Down”. very soft verses.
  7. “Mirage” – This is one of the album’s standout tracks that features the new Leprous sound from start to finish. It’s still Leprous, but there’s something different in this song, and it’s hard for me to describe. It’s a very heavy song, with intricate verses.  The guitar is on the background and the drums and bass take over.
  8. “Malina” – The title track… I was actually expecting this song to be in the style of “Leashes”, with epic, huge choruses. But this song is very atmospheric; soft vocals, accompanied by electronics, keyboards and violin. It reminds me of “Lower”- the closing track from the previous album.
  9. “Coma” – This song is all over the place. The guitars, drums and vocals are very disoriented at the beginning, before the chorus kicks in. It’s a great song however. Songs like this one make Leprous different from other Progressive bands.
  10. “The Weight Of Disaster” – This is one of my favorite songs on the album. This song could have easily become one of the singles. Like “Leashes” it has a huge epic chorus. The song is very, very catchy. The verses are really quiet and dark.
  11. “The Last Milestone” – This is the longest song on the album. You would think they would close the album with a long and super complicated song but this one is actually quite simple in its structure. It’s probably the most atmospheric song on the album, with soft vocals and a string section of violins, cellos and more. At first I thought this was a weird way to end the album, but after a few listens, it now makes perfect sense.

To sum things up, 2017 is shaping up to be a great year for Prog. It’s great to see a band like Leprous constantly challenging themselves and writing something new and fresh. Check it out!

Grade: 9/10.

Leprous on the web:

Malina Line-Up:
Einar Solberg – vocals/synth
Tor Oddmund Suhrke – guitar
Baard Kolstad – drums
Simen Børven – bass
Robin Ognedal – guitar

1. Bonneville 05:28
2. Stuck 06:48
3. From The Flame 03:51
4. Captive 03:43
5. Illuminate 04:21
6. Leashes 04:09
7. Mirage 06:48
8. Malina 06:15
9. Coma 03:55
10. The Weight Of Disaster 06:00
11. The Last Milestone 08:05

Total playing time: 00:58:56

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