1. Foe
2. Chronic
3. Coal
4. The Cloak
5. The Valley
6. Salt
7. Echo
8. Contaminate Me

Einar Solberg - synth/vocals
Tor Oddmund Suhrke - guitar
Øystein Landsverk - guitar
Tobias Ørnes Andersen - drums

Aeolia (2006)
Tall Poppy Syndrome (2009)
Bilateral (2011)

Ihsahn Vocals (additional) on "Contaminate Me"

Produced by Heidi Solberg Tveitan and Vegard Tveitan of Mnemosyne together with Leprous
Mixed by Jens Bogren
Mastered by Tony Lindgren at Fascination Street Studios

Released 2013-05-20
Reviewed 2013-06-03


From an underground coal mine they emerge, the norwegians of Leprous and their production team because that is the most likely place they can have recorded their fourth album called Coal. It looks dark when looking at the cover art, almost like something of a melancholic vision of the ironies of death. It follows the mushroomy Bilateral which felt a tad positive and playful, eventful and exciting as well, it sounded as the cover looked. This looks darker and according to singer/synth player Einar Solberg it is more melancholic and dark compared to the predecessor Bilateral but still a very dynamic album. It sounds like we are in for a treat, but are we?

Well, the first thing that strikes me when I hear the opening track Foe is the familiar vocals and the powerful sound of leprosy. It is darker, it is more easily accessible than before but it is a very complex progressive album nonetheless and it is very dark. The mood is to paint it all black, the vocals are often melancholic and deep. I would say that this is a deeper album than the predecessor, it also has many avenues to explore and a more coherent character than the predecessor. The production is truly excellent, I wonder if it was created mainly in a coal mine or if it just sounds that way. Like a well placed piece of coal thrown at you, it is brilliant. The band is brilliant. I think that for those of you who wants me to namedrop I say: Dream Theater, Pagan’s Mind, Tool but mainly something in the region of Porcupine Tree meets Pink Floyd with the singer of Pagan’s Mind who spent the last five years in a coal mine, that is how it sounds for the namedropper. Which I am not. A quality production I can say, more mature than the previous and much more serious.

And this newfound seriousness is good for them, usually serious is not for me but this feels much more connected than the previous album and better in most regards. It has a good flow for most of the album even if I find the ending a bit of a letdown. And while I am on the subject of weaknesses, the second track Chronic is a tad lacklustre I have to say. But then it is hard to find anything wrong with it, the atmosphere of darkness and melancholy is brilliant and so is the vocals. It is a very strong album with very few and not so prominent weaknesses, it is an album that clearly speaks to the fan of the genre. It should also appeal to anyone who likes moody and darkish music, it is also very heavy at times and silent at times. It is a very dynamic album, albeit not as dynamic as the predecessor was. In a way I think, especially on the atmosphere and mood, this album reminds me of Fates Warning’s majestic epos of melancholy A Pleasant Shade of Gray. It is amazing in its best moments.

I think no song is really weak, the second is a bit lacklustre and the otherwise great ending song ends quite poorly but other than that there is nothing to be down on. The songs that stand out on the other end is the opening track Foe, the title track Coal and the penultimate track called Echo. I really enjoy these tracks but I also enjoy the album overall, I think it speaks my language in a way. It also shows a good development for the band where they have moved to something a lot more coherent while still managing to remain complex and exciting, that is quite an achievement I would say. Sure they have some small niggles to iron out before they are really there but I believe more and more that this band has something special somewhere up their sleeve, all they need to do is to have the perfect prestige to present it and amaze the audiences. I know they can do it but the question is: will they?

No matter if they will or not, this is clearly the album for anyone who wants to add coal to their culture. For the photographer who wants to take a picture of a black cat in a coal mine without flash, for the steam locomotive enthusiast with his own railroad and locomotive, and for anyone else with coal related hobbies. It is also an album that most likely will appeal to you.



Label: InsideOut
Three similar bands: Procupine Tree/Pink Floyd/Tool
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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