Leprous were like many bands during the pandemic who had their touring plans put on hold, they band used the time to re-enter the studio to create their seventh full-length album. Titled Aphelion it comes on the heels of their previous album ‘Pitfalls’. Pieced together in three different studios, Aphelion is a collection of dynamic filled synth rock thats pure Leprous.
“We didn’t really plan to do an album right now,” says Solberg.
“Like many bands, we were planning to do an EP but then we thought, ‘What’s the point?’ and decided to a full album. The whole point with this album is that it’s relatively intuitive. All of the songs have been written in completely different ways. Some songs have been relatively improvised in the studio, other songs have been written like before, where I sit and write at home and then we meet up to work it all out. Some of the songs, we’ve even included the fans in the writing process, so it’s a very different album. It’s a song-by-song album. I wouldn’t say that Pitfalls was a concept album, for example, but it feels a lot more like one than Aphelion does.”
An intense start with huge statement piano chords and Solberg’s belting vocals. ‘Running Low’ is such a Leprous track. Being a band of the dramatics the intensity is ramped up with the cinematic cello from Raphael Weinroth-Browne’s and Baard Kolstad’s pounding drums.
Bouncy synths and an intimate vocal performance, ‘Out Of Here’ opens with some emotive guitar work that brings out the emotive quality of Solbergs vocals. Things get down and dirty with some heavier bass and crashing cymbals. The backing vocals take things higher as the track turns into a pop track of epic proportions.
Shifting gears to a dancey electronic number with ‘Silhouette’, pulsing bass and some really clever guitar work and one hell of a chorus that explodes through the speakers. The chugging bass and fancy guitar mash with the sweeping strings and the haunting floating vocals that take on a desperate note. The electronic continues in track ‘Have You Ever’ starts all mysterious with grinding bass and flighty synths. The track settles you in keeping things all cool and calm. The stop start rhythms and eastern tinged strings flow along lending a cinematic flair to the track.
A competitor for best chorus and a track where the band mix the electronic with big rock, ‘The Shadow Side’ is a combination of snyths and strings giving a nice contrast and we get treated some fancy fret board work as the track features a cracking guitar solo.Some more fantastic guitar work pops up on the next track ‘On Hold’. A mysterious synths led by Solbergs vocals in this delicate yet hard hitting track. The gorgeous cello interlude matches the heartbreaking lyrics and the guitar enters to beef up the tracks ending.
Big arena rock mode engaged with the classic rock intro to ‘All The Moments’. Another example of the many sides to the bands songwriting and grasp of dynamics. The classic quiet verse loud chorus works so well with Solberg’s angelic vocals soaring. The rock is tamed with piano and strings towards the end as the band once again go epic with their compositions. A nod to Kolstad, who goes all animal on his kit.
‘The Silent Revelation’ is a huge track that has it all. From the huge rock guitars that kick things off dropping off to reveal the gorgeous vocals. The track builds in to this huge rock anthem with crushing guitars and a falsetto that reaches skyward a lot like the closing choir of voices to close the track. Castaway Angels sounds something different with its picked acoustic guitar fading into piano as the track builds into some 80s electronic masterpiece with Jimmy Somerville sounding vocals. Theres another cracking guitar solo thrown in too.
Leaving the heaviest track for last ‘Nighttime Disguise’ has some serious bass about it. Leprous allowed fans to have an involvement on this track which may explain how its more like a Leprous greatest hits over its epic 7 minute length. From crooning to heavy rock vocals and that soaring angel falsetto and even a bit of brass. it closes the album and sounds like the entire album wrapped up in one track. Breathtaking to be hold.
You can always count on leprous to bring great tracks and this time they feel more personal and are certainly some of the more harder hitting work from the band. The song by song writing style shows up in the combination of heavy and softer tracks that gives the album a less of a concept feel. After all not many bands can walk the balance between the heavy arena rock and synth pop out there, and there are non that can do it as well as Leprous can.
Check out the album opener ‘Running Low’, below:
Pre order the album here