Leprous - LIVE: The Underworld, London 2012

European Progressive Assault Tour
October 22 (21:10-22:40)
Capacity 500

After two amazingly good albums, and several treks through Europe opening for bigger bands or acting as Ihsahn's backing band, Norwegians Leprous finally earned themselves a shot at a headlining tour. They were most recently seen in London opening for Amorphis in November 2011 (Therion the year before that) and many would argue they stole the show on that occasion.

The European Progressive Assault was billed as a package tour, but in truth it was really a Leprous headlining tour with one too many support bands. Fellow Norwegians Ørkenkjøtt and Andorran band Persefone opened the bill, presumably invited along because Leprous employ occasional bursts of vocals which could be considered "extreme", so it was thought an extreme progressive band and a death metal band fit the line-up.

Main support for the whole tour was Sweden's Loch Vostok, and as always with them, they are a massively improved band when vocalist Teddy Möller uses his clean voice. At those times they have a lot in common with Evergrey, and not only do the clean vocals suit the progressive music to a far greater extent, they are simply better at it than the attempts to enter Devin Townsend's world when he tries his extreme voice. They played a tight 40-minute set which, as the crowd swelled in preparation for Leprous' arrival, went down well, particularly with the handful of their own fans in the front row.

It was pretty clear most people were there for Leprous though. Taking the stage to a surprisingly large crowd (compared to that enjoyed by more established progressive acts at the same venue, like Redemption) they launched into most of their hardest hitting, most unique songs, breathlessly running through Forced Entry, Restless, Dare You and and the peerless Passing before pausing at all.

The set covered more or less all of the best songs from their two albums, plus a brand new song The Valley, presumably set for inclusion on next year's new disc, but was sadly missing the excellent He Will Kill Again from debut album Tall Poppy Syndrome. Phantom Pain has also found its way out of the set, but it's not quite such an important omission. Nevertheless, Leprous' energy on stage is astonishing, even in the cramped confines of The Underworld, and it's clear they are slowly but surely establishing themselves a considerable UK fanbase, judging by the audience reactions.

Next year it seems they are going to be hitting a lot of the European festivals both on their own and with Ihsahn (often both at the same event), so the big indicator of whether or not their stock is rising in the UK will be if Download choose to include them. While it's by no means the best event in Europe (far from it), it's a good barometer for a band like Leprous, and their incredible music deserves it.

“ energy on stage is astonishing ”

Loch Vostok setlist: Twilight of The Dogs / A Mission Undivine / Citizen Cain / Regicide / Navigator / Energy Taboo / Dystopium

Leprous setlist: Forced Entry / Restless / Dare You / Passing / Mb. Indifferentia / The Valley / Thorn / Wasted Air / Coal / White // Acquired Taste

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2012, Gigs, Progressive, ,

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