Leprous Tall Poppy Syndrome Review
by Matt Hensch
Tall Poppy Syndrome has what I like to call Limp-Dick Syndrome, so right off the gun I can tell you this here is a rough ride. Leprous, a progressive metal band from Norway, seemingly has some very unusual facts about the group's status after just two albums: Leprous' members are incredibly young, use geometrical technicality in their music, and were even selected to play alongside Ihsahn once the original black wizard went solo and subsequently progressive. Although one could argue Leprous is fantastic on paper, one should not judge a book by its cover; Tall Poppy Syndrome is certainly insulting, almost to the point of unbelief. Oh yeah, and if you are looking for any musical value at all, I have got some very bad news for you.
Although it is a bad release, Tall Poppy Syndrome really should not be, because this band IS talented. They are oddly colorful and musically mathematical without question. However, those factors fail to overshadow the truth about Leprous' parade of banality. They of course play an all-too-common card and attempt this multi-cultural progressive act. This usually rides on jazz sections, 1980s rock alignments and other unusual textures layered across the heavy metal template. Now some bands can do this idea justice, but not these guys; far from it. Throughout the album, there is nothing but poor, simple riffs and nearly-invisible drumming ricocheting between some far-out identity and Leprous' metal ideology. Obviously, it is a massive bowel movement overall.
Even better, all eight anthems stay in a formulated posture that slowly transfers random backgrounds for whatever hits the jackpot; one could say Tall Poppy Syndrome needs a prescription or two. The songs are transparently written and poorly formulated no matter how one sees it: forced vocals, nasty riffs, bland percussion, patterns that do not go anywhere
yadda yadda yadda.
The sad truth behind it all is Leprous actually is not utterly void of talent; they have got it, but they crush their style with these textures. I would say they invested in half-assed progressive bullsh*t; irony though, bought some stock in Tall Poppy Syndrome before the crash so to speak. They are creative, talented, and philosophically secure, yet all these usually-essential factors fail miserably at validating Tall Poppy Syndrome.
But it is not like the whole album is just lacking musically, oh no. For such a squad of youngsters that have captured incredible talent instrumentally and literally nothing on the writing side, what is there to do? Throughout the record's episodic sections of lethargic shenanigans, Leprous takes perhaps one or two total musical formulas per song (each one lasting about three-six minutes), hangs each one on a string and waits for the sun to dry every texture until nothing but a withered line of fried bullsh*t remains. Repetition is the name of the game, never ceasing but happily striding into what Dio once proclaimed at the end of his original Black Sabbath stint: it goes over, and over, and over again. Leprous makes it easy for one to remember Tall Poppy Syndrome, but not in a nice way. Instead, I suggest obtaining a screwdriver and keeping the sucker close once initiating listening; if things get too hot too quick, puncture your CD player.
The album lightly transcends into an average atmosphere once the title track is locked and loaded, as Leprous pushes the progression towards the avant-garde ideology with a fruity mixture of good, twisted riffs coexisting with clean guitars, sampled vocals, and a free-floating bass; however, I once heard the good things in life don't last. After about six minutes of we-wrote-a-good-section-so-let's-use-it-until-the-listner-hates-it mechanisms, they break into sub-par surroundings once again under overblown conditions that just will not subside. And that my friends, is all one has to look forward to if one is considering entangling yourself with this dopey misrepresentation of anything progressive or smart in metal.
Perhaps Leprous achieved all their latent success through the Jackson Five Equation: Young people plus extreme instrumental talent (not that the Jackson Five were instrumentally talented, but one gets the picture) multiplied by no song-writing abilities at all equal mass orgasms. Sadly, Tall Poppy Syndrome is not worth a whore on sale after looking past the senseless centrifuge that instrumentally spins without cohesion for over an hour of wasted material; it is pretty useless overall, quickly back in the case after a single listen. But placing all second-rate satire aside, perhaps the young men of Leprous should drop the act and focus on Ihshan's backing band instead. Sure that sounds a little cruel, but come on, who gets to play with Ihsahn? Especially in this economy, these guys are lucky they can pay for CD cases.
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Tall Poppy Syndrome
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Leprous Tall Poppy Syndrome
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