Leprous Tall Poppy Syndrome

Leprous are progressive metal in the semi-experimental, art rock sense, which means that though Tall Poppy Syndrome has its powerful, dramatic moments, bombastic power metal is not the goal of this youthful quintet. Drop by their MySpace page and you can peruse a long list of unsurprising influences, from Ulver to Pain of Salvation or Strapping Young Lad. Knowing that these Norwegians have provided Ihsahn with a backing band might also help put them into context. Following the conventional progressive logic (as paradoxical as that sounds), Tall Poppy Syndrome does a lot of things, playing around with rhythm, textures and tempos. There's a compelling coherence to all this activity, a flowing liveliness that makes the eight-song whole sound shorter than it is. The album's quieter lyrical moments might sit happily alongside Opeth's Damnation sessions, layering guitar, keyboard and vocal melodies with soothing effects, but little else Leprous offer is so peaceful. Rock operatics, hardcore-ish angst, metallic chaos and momentum, neo-Romantic drama, hard rock groove, a jazzy vibe — such eclectic sounds blend and punctuate each other with slippery finesse. (Sensory)