I first heard of Leprous in the fall of 2016, when they played a show not to far away from I live. I was asked by a colleague if I wanted to tag along with him. The show really blew me away. Just absolutely amazing; the atmosphere they created and just the overall feel in the rather small venue was breathtaking. As luck would have it, the band stayed at the same hotel as I did. They were friendly and more than willing to chat, nice folks. Since then I’ve plowed through their discography, from top to bottom. I don’t like it as much on studio record as I did live, and few songs are repetitive and just too much focus on atmosphere. I still liked it well enough and have been looking forward to this new record.
I’m not a huge fan of Anathema, but I’m familiar with most of their work and Malina reeks of Anathema references and inspiration. Everything from lyrical content, to sound and arrangement reminds me of Anathema. The feeling of the album is that of melody and progressive high swinging concepts. Most of the songs work excellent. Yet, sometimes I think they sound arrogant in way. I can’t quite explain what why that is, something to do with Solbergs voice I think.
My main issue with Leprous, and this album more so than their earlier material, is that the songs are a bit interchangeable, they seem very similar. I think they lean a bit too heavy on their brand of sound. I wish they would change it up a bit every now again, if for no other reason than to break the monotony. The tracks that stand out to me, do so mainly because they shift ever so slightly on a chorus, or a bridge, or a verse, and thus; breakes the monotony.
The opening track, Bonneville, is a beautiful song. The melody is both riveting and engaging. Track two, Stuck continues in the same vane, and flows into track three From the Flame without notice. The two songs are so similar in sound and feel that they are hard to tell apart. Like I said before, this unity in sound makes for a relaxing atmosphere but not to great individual tracks in my opinion. Is this a good or a bad thing? I’m a bit torn, I’m not the biggest fan of this exact thing, but sometimes it works. Maybe it’s a mood thing, if in need of relaxation this is a great record, if the need is to focus this is not the thing.
The title track Malina is indeed a standout track, it’s one of these songs where everything just clicks and fits together. Just great, relaxing and punishing at the same time. The exact opposite is my thought of the last track; The Last Milestone. It’s seems overly long and dragged out. The high pitched “oooo oooo ooo” middle section seem to never end. The middle section of the album is the blandest part of on album in decades, at least since Black Sabbaths 13, who whad all boring and uninspired songs in the middle. Illuminate, Mirage and Captive only work in the context of the album, as single tracks they seem to float away into space … la ti da …
I recommend this album for about an hour of relaxation, it’s almost meditative.
Rating 3 / 5