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Coal [Limited Edition]

Leprous Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 14.41 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Coal + Bilateral + Tall Poppy Syndrome
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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 May 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Century Media
  • ASIN: B00CB8B0TE
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,609 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Foe
2. Chronic
3. Coal
4. The Cloak
5. The Valley
6. Salt
7. Echo
8. Contaminate Me
9. Bury (Bonus track)
10. Foe (Re-mix)(Bonus track)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing band, amazing album 24 Jun 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
More dark and prog than the previous releases, with great atmospheres. TOP album in this 2013, with Amorphis, Magnus Karlsson and Orphaned Land.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Progressive Masterpiece 4 Jun 2013
By D. Sourile - Published on
Format:Audio CD
It is both with honor and shame that I write the first review for this album. It is an honor because I think that this band has evolved into the most prolific of progressive metal bands, and will eventually be recognized as one of the great bands of its time. The shame of writing the first review is that the album has been out for a week now in the US, and two weeks internationally; how has no one written a review for this yet? If this were a Metallica album, there would be 200 reviews by now I'm sure. I guess I am one of the lucky ones who have stumbled upon this wonderful group of musicians. On to the review:

Coal is an album that strays fairly far away from their previous works. One thing I love about this band is that all of their albums have completely different feels to them, with entirely different moods and style. While they all are clearly melodic progressive metal albums, they definitely all feel unique. For this very reason, I found that I initially wasn't fond of this album (I went through the same thing with Bilateral), because I think internally I wanted more of Tall Poppy Syndrome or Bilateral. I loved those albums, and couldn't imagine anything different. Leprous has decided to take a more stripped-down, slow-burning approach to their music this time around, and the result is magnificent. After a few spins, this album grows on you, grabs you, and never lets go. The subtle things become profound, the little nuances become brilliant, and the flow and feel of the album become so incredibly cohesive. More than any other Leprous album, this one demands to be listened to all at once. While there are many great individual songs, I feel that the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts in this case. This album is dripping with emotion, feeling, sorrow, and just carries this melancholy energy throughout. If you are not immediately blown away by what you hear, give it time to let it sink in - it is worth the time invested!

I want to comment that while the instruments are more reserved than on previous works (what restraint that shows for a young band), they are still on-point the entire album, showing stellar musicianship and they play through some remarkably odd rhythms and time signatures. The stand-out of the group on this album is definitely Einar Solberg though, the tremendous vocalist and synthesizer player. His voice has evolved so much since TPS. At first I thought he had a nice voice, being capable of doing a softer song like "Fate" and a death metal sort of song like "White." With Bilateral, I thought he took his voice to a new level, especially hitting me hard in the beautiful tracks "Acquired Taste" and "Mb. Indifferentia." There was a more soft side to him, yet the tone and timbre were simply perfect. With this album though, Einar has solidified himself as one of the greatest metal vocalists of his time. From the soft, delicate vocals of "The Cloak" to the grungy vocals in "Coal", he is all over the place on this album. The opening ten seconds of the first track, "Foe", give you a great idea of his soaring vocals. There are so many words to describe his performance on this album, yet none seem to do it justice: powerful, beautiful, emotive, etc. Even when I don't know what words he's singing, the tone and timbre tell me everything I need to know to sense what he's singing about and what feeling he has while he's singing. He's like an instrument of his own.

This album is honestly more accessible than their prior ones are in my opinion because of the less harsh vocals, and also the more simple approach to songwriting that they employ here. I think many new fans will jump on board if they hear this. The song structures themselves, however, are quite odd. Take the track "The Valley" as an example: the beginning starts normal, with an intro, first verse, and first chorus. Then the band breaks into a long musical sections that builds and builds while the vocalist builds tension with his ethereal sounding voice. By the time this ends and the chorus comes back in, you've almost forgotten what it sounded like the first time! For a nine minute song, you'd be surprised to know that it only has a couple verses and a couple choruses (with the "bridge" sort of section after chorus 1). The song "Echo" has a similarly odd structure, also spanning about 9 minutes (although this song I think is 30-60 seconds too long). The final epic song of the album is "Contaminate Me," which has a guest vocalist on it (Ishahn). This song has an incredible intro, and really could fit on Tall Poppy Syndrome as well. The only way I can describe this song is like this: dirty, disgusting, disturbing, and brilliant. What a way to close an album. Piano, violin, drums, and rabid screaming... these ingredients don't usually combine well, but Leprous pulls it off. I initially was sort of put off by this song, but I've grown to love it for what it is and what it tries to do. This is probably the heaviest song they've ever done, and it closes the album with a bang. Speaking of heavy, those who want their Leprous to be hard and intense can look to songs like Coal and Chronic as well (it just occurred to me that all of their heavy songs start with the letter "C"). There are some aggressive vocals in those songs, and an overall metal vibe to them. I particularly love Coal (ironically the first title track that I love - Bilateral and Tall Poppy Syndrome were both disappointing songs for me). This song is comprised of two parts - the first section has a "straightforward" metal feel, and the last few minutes are an amazing close to this song, with some beautiful vocals sung over ferocious yelling (not like cookie-monster screaming a la Contaminate Me, but very angry yells). The song fades with the words "into Coal" sung twice, with the instruments all cutting out the second time. I really love every second of this song.

For the softer side of Leprous, for fans of songs like "Fate", "Acquired Taste", or "Mb. Indifferentia", you will love "The Cloak", "Echo", and "Salt". "Foe" also has a very soft ending, with some very tasteful harmonies towards the end. The album, as a whole, is much softer than their prior works. I think they have strayed further from their debut album with each album, and I think they've found a great place that can appease many different musical tastes while holding onto their original sound and metal roots. They know when to put the heavy in for effect and emotion, but also can throw down a solid ballad when needed. No matter what type of song, their are always great melodies and fantastic musicianship.

All-in-all, this is probably the most complete album Leprous has ever made, with no wasted notes or tracks. Everything has a purpose, and the album flows so well. For a young band, they have already explored so many different types of metal and music in general, and I am truly excited to see what they do next. Please do yourself a favor and get this album today if you have never heard them. They are truly progressive, truly unique, and have a musical sense far beyond their years. Thank you Leprous for breathing fresh air into the progressive metal scene.

Album Rating: 10/10
Highlights: Coal, The Cloak, The Valley, Contaminate Me
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE progressive metal album of 2013 19 Sep 2013
By Justin G. - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
After delivering one of the absolute best progressive metal albums of the decade with 2011's Bilateral, it's safe to say that expectations were very high for Leprous's follow-up effort. The Norwegian band, who also double as former Emperor frontman Ihsahn's backing band, have, with each of their previous studio albums, taken the term "progressive" to heart, challenging both the genre and its fans. With their latest masterpiece, titled Coal, they continue that progression.

One of the (many) things that stood out about Bilateral is that for all its technicality it was surprisingly accessible from the very first listen. That's not the case with Coal. It has a fair share of melodic elements, but this isn't an album that grabs you right away. You have to work a little to really get Coal, and that's OK, because it's an album that is more than worth the effort. This is an ideal "headphones album," where you need to filter out external noise and experience just how nuanced and powerful this music is.

Coal still has that core Leprous sound that seems to be part post-black metal Norwegian prog (think Winds, Age of Silence) and part King Crimson gone Pain of Salvation. It's very much a metal album, but with a high degree of technicality and a rich atmospheric side. As with Bilateral, the harsh vocals are dialed back in favor of more clean singing.

There are only eight songs on Coal (nine if you count the bonus track "Bury"), and they're all brilliant, so it's almost pointless to call out highlights, but there are a couple of tracks that deserve special mention. The nearly 10-minute "Echo" does an amazing job pulling together all of the album's disparate elements into one song, and the intense and emotional "Chronic" would have been right at home on Pain of Salvation's Remedy Lane. It's album closer "Contaminate Me" that is Coal's real standout track. Besides having a tremendous energy and intensity, it also features guest vocals from Ihsahn.

While perhaps not the complete triumph Bilateral was, Coal is still far and away the best progressive metal album released this year. At this point, and after three consecutive albums of this caliber, Leprous really should be spoken of in the same league as Dream Theater and Opeth. They've certainly raised the bar for the rest of the progressive metal genre. If you're a fan of progressive music, you owe it to yourself to experience this band. You will neither forget nor regret it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Excellent Album 6 Jun 2013
By Michael - Published on
Verified Purchase
I've been listening to Leprous since Tall Poppy Syndrome came into the radio station I worked at. With each album they've put out, they've changed their style enough that it feels completely unlike the previous albums. And this album feels very different from its predecessors. I have a hard time describing other bands that sound like these guys, but I'll say in some ways, it makes me think of the Opeth album Damnation. This album seems a little bit slower, and maybe not quite as heavy as the previous two, but it is still fantastic.
5.0 out of 5 stars can't stop listening 1 Mar 2014
By John - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
this album is so different from anything else I've ever heard. even leprous' earlier works. another one of those discs that I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first, but was so intrigued by it that I kept listening to it and eventually grew to love it. this album was produced by the legendary ihsahn, and his influence is apparent if you've listened to ihsahn's solo work. Einar Solberg's vocal range is truly stunning and is definitely one of the major selling points for me. his sound is truly unique. almost entirely clean singing except for a few moments here and there and ihsahn killing it as the guest vocalist on the last track "contaminate me". the overall feel is very dark with glimpses of light here and there. the sound is pretty heavy, laden with chunky bass lines and well placed double kicks. like any great progressive metal cd they don't dwell entirely on the major end of the scale. they weave minor chords into the mix which gives you that feeling of moving in and out of dark places, almost like popping up above the clouds for a moment before plunging back below. many of the songs are almost structured in movements as they change to a distinctly different sound part way through the track and then meld back into the original sound. if you're a mars volta fan you'll recognize this pretty easily. favorite tracks for me are: "foe" which is such a fitting introduction to this album especially with the odd choir like quality of the vocals and its overall strange arrangement. "the cloak" is one of those intense haunting yet oppressively beautiful tracks with easily the most memorable vocal performance of the album. "the valley" is just epic and might be the best track on the album. it has a kind of techy, stop/start, feel to it but never tries to get oppressively technical and they don't lay the distortion on too thick. very well polished and intense, this is a close your eyes and enjoy the ride kind of track. "salt" is another haunting beauty, much more pained than "the cloak" with another memorable vocal performance that really showcases einar's range. the album culminates with "contaminate me" with ihsahn contributing the screaming vocals. dude has such a crazy voice which really makes this track. the album ends on a kind of awkward moment with ihsahn screaming "contaminate me!" almost acapela. it just leaves you with a completely different feeling than the rest of the album. I'm over it, but I wished they had to chose to end on a different note. fantastic album. check it out.
4.0 out of 5 stars I was hoping for something *just* a little more. 20 Sep 2013
By Old School Gamer - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying Leprous is my absolute favorite progressive metal group, even over the likes of Animals as Leaders, Dream Theater, and Opeth. I fell in love with this band from the first five seconds of "Tall Poppy Syndrome". It was that immediate. They are all the best darkness, melody, and beauty of Opeth meshed with all the best wacky time signatures and jazzy influence of Dream Theater or AaL. For me, at least, that's perfection.

I loved "Bilateral". I missed some of the more straight-forward prog of TPS, but that album was complete. It was almost like a pop album for a metal band but not in a bad way. I mean that in the best possible fashion. Think Katatonia "Night is the New Day". The vocals were beautiful, the arrangements entrancing, and the tempos combined the best of metallic aggression and jazz-induced complication and experimentation. Songs like "Mediocrity Wins" and "Forced Entry" were absolute groove fests. If you're head isn't moving while listening to those, you don't have a pulse. The complete change to a more accessible, yet still nuanced style made me very, very happy.

Now for "Coal". This album, as almost everyone has mentioned, it darker. It's not "ZOMG!!! EVIL VOCALS!!!" darker. It's more heavy in the atmosphere like classic 90's doom. Don't get me wrong. There is plenty of upbeat stuff to go around and the vocals are pretty much completely clean this time around, but the arrangements are clearly more heavy in tonality and focused. There is much less dynamic riffage per song and things seem more direct than ever. The usage of heavy atmosphere using the keys, deep and heavy distortion, and otherworldly vocal harmonies creates a feeling they have rarely administered to their sound thus far.

My favorite song on the album, "The Valley," has quite possibly the most haunting vocal melodies ever in a Leprous song, the very reason I love the song so much. It is a nine minute slow build into a crescendo that is undoubtedly as metal as anything they've ever done. Then the final two songs welcome their long-time friend Ihsahn back and show the more aggressive side of the album. Largely though, I'd have to say this album is less aggressive than either of their last two offerings. Large portions of songs(2-4 minutes in segments) are mostly vocals. It's somewhat like Opeth's "Damnation" in that way, as one reviewer mentioned.

The only reason I knock a star of is because I was expecting a bit more. This is merely personal preference but I loved their style on both of their last two albums and I'd just like to see a bit more experimentation. This one is much more direct and, while it has its amazing moments, I just wish it was a tad more like their previous efforts. Either way you cant go wrong. Leprous is on a stage all their own. No one sounds like them and they copy no one. I don't think they'll ever do anything I don't thoroughly enjoy. Please come to Boston ASAP!!!
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