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Bilateral
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  • When a band has a name like Leprous and comes from a Scandinavian country (Norway, to be exact), it would be logical to assume that the band is playing some type of death metal or black metal (or perhaps a blend of the two). The word "leprous," as defined by Encarta's World Dictionary, means "having or relating to leprosy" or "resembling the physical symptoms of leprosy, especially in being pale or scaly" -- and that is exactly the type of dark, twisted, not-so-cheerful name that a death metal or black metal band would typically have. But no, Bilateral is not death metal or black metal per se, even though it has some extreme metal overtones from time to time. Like the band's previous outing, The Poppy Syndrome, this album actually favors a melodic, intricate blend of progressive metal and alternative metal. There are some harsh moments on occasion, and Leprous provide some extreme black metal-style rasp vocals from time to time. The vast majority of the vocals, however, are clean vocals. Bilateral rocks aggressively, but for the most part, Leprous are heavy without being heavy-handed, and their intricate, nicely crafted material continues to blend '70s influences with '90s and 21st century influences. Clearly, this 2011 release is not an album that goes out of its way to sound like it was recorded 25 or 30 years earlier; one hears old-school progressive rock influences like Pink Floyd and King Crimson on "Mr. Indifferentia," "Mediocrity Wins," and other melancholy selections, but the influence of Tool, Mr. Bungle, and Opeth demonstrates that Leprous are hardly oblivious to post-'80s rock. Bilateral is another solid outing from this Norwegian prog metal/alt-metal combo. ~ Alex Henderson
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