Leprous is a five piece band from Norway. Their unique sound can be described by a mixture of Entropia-One Hour by the Concrete Lake era Pain of Salvation, Katatonia and a fair share of Opeth influence.
The album has a satisfying portion of death/black metal influence with surprisingly not disturbing brutal vocals which are used absolutely brilliant. Personally I don't like such vocals, however, Tall Poppy Syndrome has a great use of varying vocals from clean high pitched singing (Sort of like you'd see in Karnivool's Sound Awake) and Daniel Gildenlöw(Pain of Salvation) screams to Mikael Akerfeldt's tasteful roars. I can't stop but enjoying the variety of vocals because this creates a fantastic flow and atmosphere in the album.
One of the critics progmetal albums usually get is the consistency and balance of songs. That is mainly due to the extreme technical side of the genre. Bands like Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation or Opeth have managed to push the borders and create very well arranged and composed masterpieces that are considered great as a whole.
Leprous is in the same level of musical brilliance and consistency that these bands have achieved so far. The album has a great flow with dark vibes and exciting mid tempo build ups to epic endings filled with catchy guitar and vocal melodies.
"Passing" will remind you of Opeth in the beginning however you can't stop liking the beautiful vocal melodies and the fierce and epic ending.
"He Will Kill Again" has some joyful yet dark music arranged into a complex and very well organized proggy song.
"Dare You" starts with a Queensryche-esque riff but develops into Leprous' own. This is a catchy prog metal song. I'd say Katatonia or Karnivool would be jealous for not having this song.
"White" is an 11 minutes epic song ending with very beautiful and mellow piano melodies right after the explosive and heavy middle section.
"Fate" is an emotional, beautiful ballad you'd expect from Anathema or Opeth. I must say this is one of the most beautiful ballads I've heard in a while.
"Phantom Pain" has some of the albums fastest and heaviest bits. Imagine a song from Pain of Salvation's Remedy Lane builds into a heavy and fast metal song.
"Tall Poppy Syndrome" is the monsterous title track. This epic prog metal monster can be compared with Opeth's finest works in quality. Ends with a moody and dark piano section plus nice vocal harmonies which is a common feature in the whole album.
"Not Even a Name" starts with a great blastbeat section, something you'd see in a black metal band. However the song progresses into a fantastic prog metal piece. Ends with an increasing excitement which develops the epicness of the song.
Another positive aspect is the sound of the album. Currently bands are filled with depressive yet beautiful atmospheres and songs. Even the highly acclaimed Mastodon album, Crack the Skye has a fair portion of depressive sound in its cinematic atmosphere. This album however has more. It is successful to break the depressive sound tradition (Karnivool, Katatonia,Opeth, Mastodon to name a few) that defines the sound of some of the current great bands.
Overall, the album has a great variety of proggy tracks filled with catchy riffs, epic atmosphere, nice vocal harmonies, brutal vocals which are surprisingly natural in the whole, a nice ballad and tastefully used keyboard and ace musicianship that create a good balance between sad, rebelious, epic and dark sound.
10/10 and this could be the prog album of 2009.