Leprous announce new studio album ‘Melodies of Atonement’

May 30, 2024

The only thing that remains constant in the world of Leprous is change. Formed in 2001 in Notodden, Norway, this most agile of modern bands were dedicated to finding their own path from the very start. Fizzing with inspiration from all points of the musical spectrum, their sound coalesced around a box-fresh strain of progressive metal that brimmed with virtuosity and revelled in meticulous songcraft. Over the last two decades, Leprous have firmly established themselves as heavyweights in the alternative and prog worlds. From the burgeoning ingenuity of debut album Tall Poppy Syndrome (2009) and its widely acclaimed follow-up Bilateral (2011), to more recent creations like the skewed, prog metal splurge of The Congregation (2015) and 2019’s downbeat but dazzling Pitfalls, everything the band have released has added fuel to the fire of their ambitions, while also converting an increasingly huge audience of admirers from all over the globe.

Routinely celebrated for their charisma and prowess as a live band, Leprous have steadily risen to prominence through the sheer quality of their work. Their most recent album, Aphelion (2021), was a particularly imaginative and unpredictable effort, that garnered yet more glowing reviews and promised to capitalise on the band’s self-evident momentum. Like everyone else, Leprous had to negotiate a global pandemic and the temporary cessation of all touring, but with their customary enthusiasm for the creative process, the work has never stopped. In 2024, they will release their most mesmerising and impactful album yet: Melodies Of Atonement.

“The beginning of the process of writing melodies for the new album started right after our Aphelion tour in March last year,” says frontman/songwriter Einar Solberg. “I came home from tour and I started writing material for this album. The goal for that album was to remove all the orchestral elements and focus everything more around the actual members of the band. The symphonic parts, I will take further in my solo project later on. It’s a change of path in Leprous for sure. The goal was to be more straight to the point and more pure, in a way, to emphasise our qualities more, by adding less.”

The new Leprous album, the Norwegians’ eighth, was once again recorded with David Castillo (Opeth, Katatonia, Soen, etc.) at the helm. Solberg speaks highly of his long-time collaborator, noting that he continues to bring the best out of everything that Leprous do.

“We’ve had a very long working relationship with David, and I feel we get the best results when we work together,” he says. “Also, it’s just amazing to be there and to hang out! We did the entire recording together with him, except for a few things here and there. The majority of the recordings were done with our long time engineer, producer and friend!”

Leprous have always been a band driven by creative restlessness and a desire to forge something fresh with every trip to the studio. With that in mind, dedicated fans will not be surprised to learn that Melodies Of Atonement is a very different album from its predecessor, Aphelion. Where that album was informed by a collective urge to experiment and embrace new ways of musical thinking, the new one takes an entirely different approach.

“I would describe it as more straight to the point,” says Solberg. “It’s kind of heavier in its own way, and it’s very modern sounding and not retro at all. It has a lot of electronic elements. It’s heavy, it’s catchy, and there are a lot of songs that could potentially work as singles. I’m not sure it’s very prog… maybe a little here and there, but in general, not a lot of odd time signatures on this one. It’s more heavy than proggy, but not in that standard heavy way. I think people might get the wrong impression if I just say it’s heavy. It’s heavy when it needs to be!”

A nutritious feast of razor-sharp songwriting and masterful ensemble performances, Melodies Of Atonement marks a significant change in the way Leprous express themselves. Shorn of previous albums’ orchestral sumptuousness, and stripped to the bare bones reality of five musicians playing together, new songs like first single Atonement, and its planned follow-up Silent Walking Alone, repurpose Leprous’ progressive metal roots to create something that is both thrillingly alien and reassuringly familiar. Mixed by Adam Noble (Placebo, Biffy Clyro, Nothing But Thieves, etc.) and mastered by Robin Schmidt (The 1975, Placebo, The Gaslight Anthem, etc.), it is easily the most succinct and memorable album the Norwegians have ever made, Melodies Of Atonement is another bold stride forward.

“We’re adventurous people and we don’t like to do the same thing again and again,” Solberg admits. “It bores us to stay in the same musical vibe for too long, so we like to explore and see what more we can do, but at the same time, keeping the essence of what Leprous is. We definitely feel that we’ve taken it in a new direction, but also I think it’s not going to be very hard to get Leprous fans on board with this album. It’s very new but it doesn’t feel very risky! It’s one of the albums we’ve made that is easiest to get into. It’s quite instant.”

Despite being an album that reintroduces Leprous to some of the heavy elements that were so vital to their early success, Melodies Of Atonement is no kind of throwback. Instead, Solberg and his band mates – guitarists Tor Oddmund Suhrke and Robin Ognedal, bassist Simen Daniel Lindstad Børven, and drummer Baard Kolstad – have found a new way to bring their poignant creations to life, and the result is the band’s most accessible body of work to date. Of course, Melodies Of Atonement is still guaranteed to take us all on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, as Solberg freely admits.

“I don’t really do lyrical concepts. To me, I just sing about feelings that I have inside me, worries that I’ve had or things I‘ve been working on mentally with myself, or things that I’ve experienced,” he states. “So everything that I write about is straight from the source, it’s unfiltered, and it’s usually quite transparent. But there’s no overall theme. It is of course melancholic at points, even though I think people get the misconception that I’m a very melancholic person, which I’m not really! I have melancholy in me, but it’s not the dominating part of who I am. But still, through the music, I like to stay close to melancholy.”

Three years on from Aphelion, Leprous have pulled off another remarkable reinvention. Melodies Of Atonement could hardly be the work of anyone else, not least due to Einar Solberg’s unmistakable voice, but neither does it closely resemble any other record in the band’s substantial catalogue. Both an unequivocal triumph and a radical new beginning, this is Leprous at their bewildering, fearless best.

“For us, this album is by far the one we’re most satisfied with, and we think it’s our best,” Solberg avows. “It’s a cliché for a band to say that, but we really think so, and after the feedback we’ve had from people so far, it seems that a lot of people agree. We don’t want to be cocky about it, but we feel it’s our strongest album to date. I think we’re pretty confident that this album will take us a few more steps up the ladder, and lot of those songs will work extremely well in a live context.”

Armed with yet another glittering masterpiece, Leprous have grand plans for the rest of 2024 and beyond. Sadly, Einar Solberg is remaining tight-lipped about most of it. Either way, he sounds excited: after hearing Melodies Of Atonement, so will everyone else.

Leprous – “Melodies Of Atonement” (51:42)


1. Silently Walking Alone (04:05)
2. Atonement (04:49)
3. My Specter (03:55)
4. I Hear The Sirens (04:31)
5. Like A Sunken Ship (04:04)
6. Limbo (05:56)
7. Faceless (06:25)
8. Starlight (06:09)
9. Self-Satisfied Lullaby (06:21)
10. Unfree My Soul (05:21)


Einar Solberg – vocals and keys
Tor Oddmund Suhrke – guitars
Robin Ognedal – guitars
Simen Børven – bass
Baard Kolstad – drums