Leprous - Aphelion,
Before I wrote this review, I looked back at what I had said about 2019’s ‘Pitfalls’, then wondered if I should just copy and paste the same words and see if anyone noticed, as pretty much everything I said back then fits in with this 2021 album. There is no doubt that Einar Solberg is an incredible singer, with an effortless falsetto which is clean and pure, but the band who once produced modern prog metal have long since disappeared. Actually, they have, as apart from Einar, only Tor Oddmund Suhrke (guitars) is still there from the line-up which produced ‘Coal’ in 2013, which in all fairness was their last strong release, at least to my mind.
Leprous have done a Marillion on us, so that the music is now very much a vehicle for wonderful vocals, as opposed to being a collected whole. Aside from the vocals, the music is often quite mundane, and middle of the road as opposed to being the driving force it used to be. There is nothing dramatic and exciting here anymore, but rather it feels much more like a solo album than a band release. The music is not nearly as sophisticated as it used to be and contains so many modern commercial sounds that it is rarely prog at all, and when the guitars do make a passionate entrance such as on “Out of Here" it just shows what we are missing. I finished my review of ‘Pitfalls” with the words “I worry about what the next one will bring” and having now heard it, I fear I was right. There will be a great deal of Leprous fans out there who feel this is wonderful, the same way Marillion fans always say the latest album is brilliant – but I have long lost any interest in anything coming out from that band, and I feel Leprous are now in the same camp.