30 Aug 2021 - Gene
Alternative, Progressive, Metal | InsideOut Music | Release date: 27 Aug 2021
Farthest from the sun but closest to the spotlight. A cathartic dawn they’ve been sailing for some time. Upon the drama of personal exposition, preceding works exemplary; behind the turbulent scenes, refining the narrative approach to anthemic excellence. Now, Leprous takes that adventure one step further into their pervasive vision, giving their studied confidence an easy hand at a truly exciting and adventurous chapter.
When this listener caught them on tour with Haken, he didn’t grasp the significance, even on the heels of Malina, of what was brewing. Simplistically saw that two paths forked the road and one closed when the other was embarked.
Should not have been surprised at the symbiosis of that infectious drama. In retrospect, even Pitfalls didn’t make sense without the Context of Aphelion. But here you have it, eagerly embracing the theatricality of Prog’s self-actualization while digging deep into the darkling precision of earlier works, Leprous return to make the record they needed to make.
Single and opener ”Running Low” cleared its throat in a similar manner as did ”Below” but made no qualms about throwing the kitchen sink at you. The angular syncopated rhythms, the cooly virtuosic vocals, the almost dizzying theatricality of the whole affair!
Stepping out on the wretchedly brilliant ”Out Of Here” in which Einar is plainly pandering classy reserve against soaring release; all that lovely, emotional clarity, just effortlessly melting you with that breathy crooning, eroding your doubt when the bite enters his voice.
”Silhouette” indeed brings Coal-era movements back to the fold, replete with Bard’s storied chops. ”All The Moments” showing its mainstream side with pop-prog perfection notwithstanding, show stopper ”Have You Ever” stuns the room still. The groove, the keys, the low end, the ghost notes!
”The Silent Revelation” brings another impressively catchy, fun cut. ”The Shadow Side” capitalizes on this dark-pop song-writer persona – a brilliant kind of Hozier moment turned up to 11, driving a defianat spike into the heart of expectations. ”On Hold”, one of these gorgeously wound melodies of exposition, with all low end, darkly creeping in, harmonics building, erupting, classic Leprous on full blast with hefty doses of Malina, a familiar refined element: swerving repetition begets glorious cacophony.
”Castaway Angels” is classic single material, and one of the record’s few predictable moments, even if it easily wins over with sheer talent. Vitally, closer, ”The Silent Revelation” brings it all together, turns up the guitars, the tapping, the brass spot, Bard’s octopodic energy, Einar’s moving and impressive instrument hitting its lowest and highest notes, and finally, of course, the scream. Could there be a more effective closing statement?
“There is nothing here but darkness…” How they are able to pack so much emotion and urgency into a simple phrase is a matter of listening back. Did they manage to marry their newfound reserve with that vital darkness of early material into a seemingly even more accessible and harrowing performance? To these ears, Aphelion collects the best parts of core, avante-garde, and mainstream-bound Leprous and hits it with redoubled fire! As Einar related its inception, the spontaneity of the thing engendered its freshness. And it really shows.