Leprous – ‘Malina’ (Album Review)
With so many progressive bands hastily jumping on the djent bandwagon, Leprous’ latest is a breath of fresh air. Already known for their special blend of modern prog influences (The Mars Volta, Tool, Karnivool, Devin Townsend, Symphony X, TesseracT and Dream Theater, to name a handful), Leprous have struck out for rockier pastures than those occupied on 2015’s The Congregation.
Fans of Agent Fresco’s Destrier – pinned as it currently is to Leprous’ Spotify profile – will experience a subtle sense of familiarity on first listening to Malina. Leprous have successfully pursued their own epic-scale vision without pandering to trends or even following the creative path they originally intended to take upon starting the Malina sessions. Instead of further refining The Congregation’s sound, Leprous found themselves naturally veering in a more organic direction – one that wound up requiring far more studio time than usual.
The extra effort was worth it, because Malina sounds absolutely beautiful. From Bonneville’s delicate and fragile intro to From The Flame’s epic falsetto vocals; Captive’s Zep-meet-Biffy-Clyro grooves and awesome vocal harmonies; Illuminate’s hypersyncopated stabs; title track Malina’s heartbreaking emotionality; and The Last Milestone’s sumptuous string-driven climax, this album is stunningly priceless, a genuine jewel and career-high achievement.
For me, seventh song Mirage emerged the clear highlight to beat all others on Malina. Assigning djent-style metrically superimposed parts to rock-toned instruments is a masterstroke, as is the way Leprous hold back on constantly anticipated extended-range guitar parts until about the halfway mark before following up with a truly unique hook section and some tangled unison riffage. That track is pure, pure genius.
Sometimes, you don’t always get what you want – but you get what you need instead. Malina stands as a prime example of what can happen when that happens. Leprous have something to be more than proud of here.
LTK RATING: 96% (Essential Listening!)
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Malina drops August 25; pre-order it on iTunes here.