Support Acts: Blindead
Review by Yiannis (John) Stefanis
Photos by Emily Dgebuadze
Two weeks or so ago I was contacted by Inside Out’s London PR rep about reviewing the upcoming London show of Norwegian Progressive Metal band Leprous. Up until then, all I knew about the quintet was that they were the backing band for Ihsahn, vocalist/ guitarist and founding member of the Norwegian Black Metal legends Emperor, and that fact alone was enough to convince me that this was something worthy of attention.
However, it was only after I heard the band’s latest studio album “Coal” that I realised that missing the band’s show was simply not an option, even though the venue was to be the Camden Underworld, which seemed inappropriate for a band whose music relies heavily on melodic nuances for effect.
My evening started on a positive note, following a very enjoyable and informative interview with the band’s guitar duo Tor Oddmund Suhrke/ Øystein Landsverk. However, this did mean that I missed Blindead, the only opening act of the day, which had just finished performing the last song of their thirty five minute set.
At this point, I was worried how these guys would manage to recreate their intricate and layered compositions in this venue? Hopeful for a positive outcome, but well prepared for the worst case scenario, I braced myself for the oncoming musical storm.
As mentioned, Leprous are currently on tour in promotion of their third studio album “Coal” so the majority of the material performed would be, understandably, from said album. Kicking off with the album opener “Foe”, these perfectly choreographed and smartly dressed Norwegians conducted themselves in a highly professional manner, taking full advantage of every inch of space provided by the venue’s miniature stage (a stage further loaded with TV screens presenting video footage), while performing their highly intricate compositions with surgical precision.
Frontman Einer Solberg is a force to be reckoned with, hitting, much to my astonishment, all the right notes in compositions of a highly demanding nature, such as “The Valley” and “The Cloak” – the latter being one of the many highlights of the show. It took the band a good twenty minutes before they started to perform material outside their latest album but, when they finally decided to do so, they offered in “Restless” a Prog Metal gem of the highest standards.
Even though quite confident when performing their most recent songs, the guitar duo Suhrke/ Landsverk were truly on fire during earliest material, such as “Forced Entry” and “Acquired Taste”, while Solberg presented us with his extreme Metal pedigree through a killer rendition of “Contaminate Me” – a song which completed the band’s main set. It took the sweat-drenched lads seconds to return to the stage as the venue observed an early curfew and more material was to be performed, starting with “Passing” – a song which drummer extraordinaire Tobias Ørnes Andersen cleverly adorned with his unique technical skills.
As you can of course appreciate, there was never an intention for these fine Norwegians to leave the stage of the Underworld without a bang – one that was presented through a top quality rendition of “Waste Of Air”, following which the band thanked the audience for their support, took their last bows and then left the stage for good.
I have attended quite a few gigs in my life and so I can state with much confidence that the show on the evening of the 9th of November at the Underworld was a unique musical experience. Actually, had it taken place at a more accommodating venue, such as The Roundhouse, which is only a mile or so away, this might well have been one of this year’s best shows.
The band’s touring schedules will most probably have been concluded by the time you read this review but next time you see Leprous being advertised in a town near you, don’t miss the chance of seeing them live.
Leprous Set List:
- “The Valley”
- “The Cloak”
- “Dare You”
- “Forced Entry”
- “Acquired Taste”
- “Contaminate Me”
- “Waste Of Air”
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