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There's good reason why ex-Emperor mainman Isahn handpicked the members of Leprous to be part of his touring band besides sharing the same hometown (Notodden, Norway), and this quintet's daunting eight-track affair firmly backs up Isahn's choice. With a strong set of '70s symphonic pomp and a darkened dollop of progressive metal's usual suspects' wares in place from Opeth ("Dare You") to Emperor ("Not Even a Name"), this troupe remain elegant, elaborating with punch and purpose without going overboard ("Phantom Pain"), tastefully borrowing from many different sources ( Deep Purple pipe organ on "White", anyone?) to develop an intriguing slant to a well-tread entity. Emotionally-stirring and masterfully played,with bass guitar especially standing strong, the sophomore effort by this squad fits snugly between Pink Floyd, Strapping Young Lad, and Porcupine Tree as an outfit that understands how to launch into the stratosphere while still keeping an eye on Earth.
- Mike SOS