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Leprous: Live at Rockefeller Music Hall
Leprous are a Norwegian progressive metal band having formed in 2001. They released the EP Silent Waters in 2004 and followed that with their debut album Aeolia in 2006. I first became familiar with the band after reviewing their excellent second full length Tall Poppy Syndrome and have subsequently listened to everything since. Their last three releases; Bilateral, Coal and The Congregation are all stellar listens. Suffice it to say I was very much looking forward to their latest endeavor Live at Rockefeller Music Hall, recorded on June 4th, 2016 in Oslo, Norway. Just like their studio releases this live album is a must have for fans of progressive metal.
For those of you new to the band it is important to understand Leprous is quite unique in the prog metal genre. The dreaded Dream Theater clone, these guys are not. Their sound is both technical and dramatic as well as electronic, ambient, alternative, well you get the picture. If I had to compare them to other bands in the genre I would say Haken might be a logical place to start. Both bands have a unique front man and a righteous amount of eclecticism thrown into the prog metal blender that helps to separate them from the standard progressive metal fare.
So, what about their new platter? Well, in a word it is excellent. The playing is flawless, including the vocals and the sound quality superb. The songs covered are from their last three albums including eight tunes from The Congregation. On these latest efforts Leprous has really developed strong song writing skills and maybe have gotten away from their experimental side a little bit. This is not a slight at all, in fact they are as appealing as ever while still retaining enough eclecticism that attracted me to the band in the first place.
The concert begins with a dramatic rendition of "The Flood" taken from The Congregation. The crowd is certainly excited for the band to begin. The darkly lit theater explodes with electronic pulses and a lit backscreen with pulsating white light. The ambient/electronic side of the band is on full display here and is one of their more unique traits. The vocals begin, ala Einar Solberg and his voice is clear and on point with his dramatic inflection well represented. The band erupts with a full-fledged prog metal assault only to ease off before building once again. It's a catchy tune and a great way to begin the concert. Next is the catchy "Foe", culled from the Coal album highlighted by huge guitar rhythms and a two drum attack, courtesy of guest drummer Tobias Andersen. The heavy staccato attack of "Third Law" is another highlight, especially the outstanding riff progressions, superb drumming and painted background keyboard soundscape done for mood rather than show. "Rewind" is another concert highlight beginning with an electronic soundscape and a heavy fuzzed out bass. Eventually the band's chops are on full display, every member digging as deep as they possible can and giving the crowd exactly what they came for. I enjoyed every minute of this concert and really every track could be considered a highlight.
The overall package is classy and professional. The CD booklet contains lots of great photos of the performance and the addition of lyrics is a nice bonus. The filming and sound quality is also top notch and is an indication of just how committed the band is in releasing nothing but their best. Besides the concert the DVD includes some nice goodies like assorted videos, archival concert footage and a short video of the band in pre-concert routine.
Fans of the band will surely want this in their collection. For others, this would be a great introduction.
Released on InsideOut Music.
Einar Solberg (vocals, keyboards)
Tor Oddmund Suhrke (guitar, backing vocals)
Øystein Landsverk (guitar)
Simen Daniel Linstad Børven (bass, backing vocals)
Baard Kolstad (drums)
Ihsahn (vocals, guitar)
Tobias Ørnes Andersen (drums)
Håkon Aase (violin)
1. The Flood
3. Third Law
5. The Cloak
6. Acquired Taste
1. The Price
4. The Valley
5. Forced Entry
6. Contaminate Me
• Entire concert - same track listing as the CDs
• Official videos
• Live at Rockefeller 13 Years Earlier
• Making of
Added: February 21st 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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|Leprous: Live at Rockefeller Music Hall
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2017-02-20 19:15:02
Since the turn of the decade Norwegian progressive metal outfit Leprous have begun to make a real impression, the band's last three studio albums, Bilateral, Coal and The Congregation, feeding an ever growing fan base and receiving some glowing reviews in the process. Live At Rockefeller Music Hall is the band's first live release and one which rather spectacularly sums up their work to date.
As my colleague Jon Neudorf has summed up expertly above, calling Leprous progressive is an accurate description, as is metal and yet they are very far removed from what that tag often suggests. Instead think the less heavy side of Opeth mixed with Haken, but with the merest hint of Tesseract sprinkled on top and well, you'll be some of the way to what Leprous are all about. Scythingly heavy riffs slicing through emotion driven vocals from Einar Solberg, who also plays keyboards. Both aspects are superb here, Tor Oddmund Suhrke and Oystein Landsverk imperious on guitar and matching Solberg every step of the way in providing atmosphere and energy, while drummer Baard Kolstad and live bassist Martin Skrebergene prove expert in adding just the right amount of power, thrust and intimacy to proceedings.
Having only heard the audio, I obviously can't comment on the DVD side of this release and yet, when the throbbing keyboards, thrusting guitars and heartfelt, at times heartbreaking, vocals surround you, it's easy to close your eyes and be transported straight to the show captured here. The crowd energy is infectious, the on stage sound honest, full and captivating, allowing this release to be one which truly sounds like a quality live offering that actually carries the emotion of seeing a band in the flesh. Something fewer and fewer seem capable of doing these days.
In terms of track listing it's hard to complain either "The Flood" an impactful opener, before the likes of "Moon", "Down", "The Valley" and "Acquired Taste" continue to ebb and flow with aggressive subtlety. Something the closing pair of "Forced Entry" and "Contaminate Me" possess in abundance. However with all thirteen tracks being performed with such intensity and emotion, the truth is there's simply not a single moment that isn't filled with wonder.
If you haven't heard Leprous, then this is a superb place to start to understand their individual take on the progressive metal genre, but then so are any of their last three studio efforts. If you have, then you should already know that this is required listening.
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