Leprous – Aphelion
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 27/08/2021
Running Time: 56:02
Review by Beth Jones
Certain areas of the world seem to have an outstanding ability to produce astonishing musicians, Norway being one of them. Maybe it’s the dark nights, rugged and vast scenery, or temperamental and often tempestuous weather that inspires the melodies out of their composers, maybe it’s the diet or way of life that feeds the creative mind or perhaps it’s purely coincidence, who knows. But the goodness of whatever it is, that brings forth such art, makes me an incredibly happy Beth indeed.
Leprous, one of Norway’s more recent, and arguably one of its finest, musical groups have been releasing music since 2009, and their most recent offering, “Aphelion” has just been released. Now, I’m a little behind with my reviewing, so bear with me, and nod in agreement, if you’ve already purchased this album. If you haven’t, please read on, and then go and purchase this album, because it is something very special.
You can tell from the first few bars of opener ‘Running Low’ that this album is going to be an expressive and emotive listen. Dark cinematic piano and sparse percussion set the opening, with the powerful but delicate vocals of Einar Solberg cutting through above anything else. Ebbing and flowing like the swelling of the incoming tide, this intriguing and masterfully written, and played, song lets the listener know that this album means serious business. It will challenge your mind, as well as your musical appreciation, with its intricacies.
And this is really how the whole album works. At the forefront, delicacy and intricate thought, coupled with immense skill and musical maturity, create a sound that really is stunning. I am in complete awe of Einar’s vocals. His voice is so unique, with a pure and crisp sound that he controls superbly well, so nothing is ever over or under-done. It is almost as if his singing is entirely controlled by his emotions, which in itself is paradoxical, as emotion is so uncontrollable. The inspiration for most of the compositions on this album have come from Einar’s own personal struggles with anxiety and depression, and every song does have a deep connection to feeling, whether it’s through the composition, instrumentation, or lyrics.
Every track on this album is simply perfection. Driven by piano and vocals – which are both hugely important to me – it explores heaviness in contrast with gentleness, pace in contrast with pauses, rhythm in contrast with freeform, and the full expanse of dynamics. It’s hugely cinematic, and symphonic, and would be fascinating to see performed live at some of the great opera houses around the world. I can only imagine how immersive it would sound in the likes of the Royal Albert Hall, or Sydney Opera House.
There are a couple of tracks that I’ll mention, even though this is an album of greatness in its entirity. ‘Have You Ever?’ is first. I love the low rumbling bass that sits in this track. It’s the sort of bass that makes your ribcage vibrate. This track also sits somewhere between Progressive Rock, Jazz, and James Bond theme music, which is just spectacularly bonkers, and very brave.
The other track that I want to mention is ‘On Hold’. Musically, it’s probably the most straightforward on the album. But its mastery is in the lyrics. A beautiful melancholy monologue about feeling stuck in desperation. A feeling that a lot of us can relate to, I think. I know I certainly can. It’s just so emotive… So breathtaking…
“Aphelion” is next level musical connection, and I’m completely blown away by it. Expect to see this album appearing in my top ten of the year… Thanks, Leprous, for creating music that provides solace. It is timeless, and genre-less, and reaches the next level of consciousness and healing. Slightly less thanks for making my job of picking an album of the year harder than it already was…But I’ll forgive you because this is sublime!
‘The Silent Revelation’ (Official Video)
01. Running Low
02. Out Of Here
04. All The Moments
05. Have You Ever?
06. The Silent Revelation
07. The Shadow Side
08. On Hold
09. Castaway Angels
10. Nighttime Disguise
Einar Solberg – Vocals, Keyboards
Tor Oddmund Suhrke – Guitars
Robin Ognedal – Guitars
Simen Børven – Bass
Baard Kolstad – Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.