There are two things that come to mind after listening to Bilateral: (1) Wow, this is very impressive; and (2) why haven’t I heard of this band earlier? Album number three from this Norwegian progressive band is just so damn impressive that it easily nullifies the existence of lesser bands (and there are plenty of those).
LEPROUS can do so much and they exercise that ability by blending in progressive rock/metal (i.e. DREAM THEATER, KING CRIMSON), Norwegian black metal, heavy rock (i.e. FAITH NO MORE), MESHUGGAH, and DEVIN TOWNSEND among others. While they do show their incredible musicianship, it’s never done as a wank fest like so many contemporary progressive bands indulge in. It’s always done within the context of the songs. A standout characteristic of Bilateral is that with each song, you don’t know what to expect. They never tread the same ground or follow a predictable song formula but at the same time, this isn’t a cut and paste or genre hopping record. A song like “Mb. Indiferrentia” is very quiet and gentle whereas the preceding song, “Thorns,” has a slow, heavy, and dark part with none other than friend, Ihsahn (EMPEROR), on guest vocals. Contrast that with “Waste of Air” that starts off with blast beats and becomes an exercise in building and releasing tension.
While I hate to single one member out among this talented band, Einar Solberg (vocals/synth) is absolutely fantastic. He’s got a comparable vocal range and presence to that of the great Devin Townsend and Mike Patton. So often with these kinds of bands, the vocalist can really make or break it for many listeners and Einar definitely makes it. C’mon, EMPEROR and IHSAHN have utilized him for live performances. What does that say?
Bilateral is an intriguing, adventurous, compelling, and stimulating experience. If you’re looking for such music, then look no further. (Inside Out Music)