Released by Inside Out Music
Release Date: October 25th, 2019
Genre: Progressive Rock/Metal, Experimental Rock
Elinar Solberg – Vocals/Keys
Tor Oddmund Suhrke – Guitar
Robin Ognerdal –Guitar
Simen Børven – Bass
Baard Kolstad – Drums
2. I Lose Hope
3. Observe The Train
4. By My Throne
6. At The Bottom
7. Distant Bells
9. The Sky Is Red
What do you get when you mix an amazing songwriter, depression, and a thirst to make a great album. The answer is An astonishing masterpiece called: Pitfalls by Leprous. From the first single on the album ‘Below’ to the very last epic, ‘The Sky is Red’. Throughout all nine songs, Pitfalls, keeps you entranced and flowing through a story of anxiety and depression, Elinar Solberg (Vocalist), experienced. I had found myself jamming along and trying hard to hit every note of songs like ‘Alleviate’, ‘At The Bottom’ and ‘Below’. Other songs such as ‘Distant Bells’ (Which is their third single of the album) and ‘The Sky Is Red’ just sucked me into their themes, not wasting any time; Just showing off the talent of all members that made this album happen.
This is the band’s seventh studio album since their formation in 2001. Producer David Castillo worked on the album with Solberg and the band; which was David’s second album with the group. His first was their 2017 album ‘Malina’ (Released under the same label). Tho the themes are meant to clearly show the view of what anxiety and depression clearly feel like. It has a way of also leaving you in a positive mood. Songs like the third and fourth tracks, ‘Observe the Train’ and “By My Throne”, have these somewhat calming features to them. Be it just to relax and slip into the “Breath in, Breath out” falsetto vocals of Elinar Solberg. Or the funk rock-driven Guitar, Bass, and Drums in “By My Throne”.
The very first song of ‘Pitfalls’ will have you walking into the bed, and mind, of someone who’s starting to question who they truly are. Every step of the way is a fight and battel to take off this “Façade” spoken about in the track “Below”: Which might be their poppiest song on the album, next to “I Lose Hope”. That song reminds me, a little bit, of a mixture between Fitz and the Tantrums and Muse, though being its beast standing beside the legends. The fight continues throughout the whole album giving you a glimpse of hope around ‘Alleviate’. Coming from a drummer such as myself, I love these bands sprinkles of accented taps and hits from the amazing Baard Borven who has the helm of the powerful drums you can hear on this album! Though after the songs final refrain comes one of the most dynamic and intense tracks ‘Distant Bells’. This is where we notice who we truly are has been stepped on by this beast of anxiety. Molding us to a whole new person that we may, or may not, be who we want to be. This feeling rides till the final epic, which doesn’t end too happily; ‘The Sky Is Red’. I don’t want to spoil too much due to always enjoying the story behind the music, but also the artist’s metaphors and their messages. This epic is a song of power, and sadness, perfectly blended. But the reason, ‘Pitfalls’, has to be one of the best albums out there, but is the most interesting album due to not only keeping a whole theme throughout, without a hiccup or boring moment. But it doesn’t stick with just one genera of music! To my musical ear, I hear elements of Jazz, Djent, Pop overtones, all while being a song I expected but did not expect, from Leprous. I highly suggest giving this album a listen, maybe a few times over, because there is a lot to take in!
Though I can’t say which song I loved the most, due to loving each one of them equally as much. The ones that had the most replays were: ‘Distant Bells’, and ‘The Sky Is Red’. But, just before ‘Alleviate’, ‘Foreigner’ and ‘By My Throne’.
Distant Bells sits at 7 minutes and 22 seconds. This song also utilizes two friends of Leprous: Chris Baum, violinist, one could say studio member of the band; and cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne from the American band Bent Knee: Both giving their talents to help bring the song come alive, along with many of the symphonic elements bringing the album to its even more epic status. For me this song I hold the closest due to my battles with depression; the feeling of being isolated away from everyone, looking at yourself and not realizing who you even are anymore, and this feeling of being trapped by all these shortcomings and pitfalls in life. Since I have found the album I have played this almost every day, even on days I feel fine; this song is just that good. The ending of this Distant Bells had to be my favorite moment out of the whole album. It was one part I would urge anyone to wait for and headbang too! Had that epic vibe much like the song “Meadows Of heaven” by Nightwish off the album Dark Passion Play (2007) but a little more dynamic and intense in some aspects!
The Sky is Red is an 11-minute 21-second epic. And deserves to be it! This song brings every element found in the other nine songs, into one massive beast. There are catchy guitar riffs, effects along with these heavy grooves that appear throughout the picture they have painted. Leprous also took it another step forward a recorded a complete classical choir in Belgrade. The reason I love this song so much is due to the epic lead up to the final moments of the battle of anxiety. “The sky is red, red again. Uncontrollable impulses coming my way. Stripped of all logic sense. My head?feels?so dense” are the opening lyrics to this masterpiece with that full choir holding out as Solberg talks very clearly about his mental state. As the song grows on it gets a little lighter, then darker, almost toying with your emotions through the minor-keyed music. Just as you think you’re about to hit the resolution you hear this sonar guitar effect sounding out. Slowly it builds and builds to this monster “High on a cliff” tone. The world is crashing down around the mind with the lyrics of “Wire around my sanity. Fire is the only force inside me. Wire applying pressure on me. Fire, only feeling left inside me “and rides out to the very end.
I strongly give this album a 10/10. From Composition to theme, down to vocals and arrangement, this is one album I have listened to repeatedly in my vehicle, to and from shows, and when I’m just sitting around the house! Though the messages are about a dark subject, I can’t help walking away feeling amazing after a full listen of this masterpiece! Bravo, I cannot wait for the next album, and hopefully a stop in my home state for a concert!
Written by: Jeremy Nelson