Sheds some metal of previous efforts but still is a prog rock masterpiece
Norway's Leprous have been around since 2001 and although they originally gained popularity as Ihsahn's backing band, have definitely come into their own over there past several albums.
Although originally a more progressive metal band, on their 5th full-length album called Malina, they have shed a lot of the heaviness but still deliver a progressive rock masterpiece. Songs such as Booneville, Mirage, and Coma still have that metal edge that sounds like material from albums such as Coal and The Congregation. Another noticeable difference is the song lengths. There is only one song over the 7-minute mark. That all being said, Malina is a fantastic album. The music is well written--some of the best of their career and the vocal melodies are catchy and memorable. The final song on the album, The Last Milestone, is one of their most experimental songs to date, as it is all vocals and orchestrations. Nonetheless, it's the perfect song to end this amazing album. It's also worth noting that the production is stellar in that all of the instruments sound more organic than on earlier releases, even though this is a keyboard heavy album.
I'm sure there are some Leprous fans that will not like direction of this album, as it is not as heavy as previous efforts. However, if you're a fan of progressive rock, great vocals and superb songwriting, then you’ll love Malina. As a huge fan of Leprous and all of their works, I look forward to seeing what kind of journey they take us on next.