I got into Leprous right after they released “Bilateral.” The album completely blew me away. The band itself were so tight and the music had plenty of twists and turns. But they also knew the importance of melody. They have kept all of those elements intact on subsequent albums. In addition, they have one of the most dynamic and unique voices in Einar Solberg.
Those subsequent albums were almost polar opposites for me. Initially, I didn’t like “Coal” but I just kept listening to it and while I don’t LOVE it, at least I do like it now. “The Congregation” blew me away from the moment I heard it. To me, it was everything that I wanted “Coal” to be. So now, Leprous have their next offering in “Malina” and it actually reminds me a bit of both previous albums.
“Coal” started with the song “Foe” which I have always thought was the wrong song to start any album with since it really does NOTHING. I’ve never really gotten into the song. “Malina” starts off in the same confounding way with “Bonneville.” While I think “Bonneville” is weirder than “Foe” (and thus better), it’s just an awkward way to start the album. “Stuck” and “From the Flame” are next and they are like a 1-2 punch, hitting you right in the face. Both are CLASSIC Leprous in style and execution. GREAT songs.
Another favorite on “Malina” is the song “Illuminate” which has a high energy chorus and is off kilter enough to be a perfect single. The title track is another interesting song. While it is experimental, it has a flow to it despite what feels like chaos within the arrangement. Another experiment of sorts is the closing track “The Last Milestone.” It’s a string laden, gloomy piece that showcases Solberg’s amazing voice.
For me, “Malina” isn’t QUITE as great as “The Congregation” or (of course) “Bilateral.” However, Leprous is doing more in shorter spaces on this album than really any previous release. The shorter songs feel packed with power and the longer ones have many layers to explore with further listens. “The Weight of Disaster” has both! Fans of Lepous will definitely enjoy “Malina” while newcomers have a perfect place to start.
3. From the Flame
10. The Weight of Disaster
11. The Last Milestone