Five long years following the release of their critically lauded second album Wake, Oslo’s post-metal collective Leonov are ready to rain down some new hauntingly beautiful and meditative post-metal anthems. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Procession!
The band’s newly released third album sees them blending razor sharp, cold progressiveness with heartfelt warm passages, giving their output an eerie and cinematic, almost otherworldly feel to it. It is the sound of a world collapsing. Doom, shifting axes and intense darkness. A prayer for the suffering and a hope for emanating light. The band offer seven new tracks for your delectation, starting with Rem, a brief, melancholic but atmospheric piece of mood-setting, an instrumental which then morphs seamlessly into the eight-minute Amer. This is very reminiscent of Dawnwalker, having that being same blend of pretty heavy, bleak riffery with almost pastoral melodies. It’s a nicely composed number that builds satisfyingly, good use of ambient light and shade with a burst of growl vocals towards the conclusion. Atmospheric is certainly the key word here!
Procession is positively light and lively in comparison, at least it starts off that way! One signature element of Leonov’s work is a throbbing monotonic bassline that hooks you, bruises you and snares you in a haunting, echoing sort of tribal vibe. Another nice composition although I do begin to wonder how much variation there might be across the album….
Sora is pretty heavy / doomy, a ponderous chord rattling around your ribcage, the guitar being fairly brutal in their twin doom attack! But it’s a crisp, clean sound which again draws comparisons with Dawnwalker, augmented with the floating, ethereal vocals of Tåran Reindal which are stunningly effective here – this is perhaps the definitive sound of Leonov. A nice selection of percussion adds to the mix, this is a great example of cinematic quality post-rock.
Mesos is another slow number, that I’m not sure about – it kinda drags a bit…and also sounds a bit samey? I mentioned light and shade earlier, and I suspect this band will lie or die on the degree of variety that they can showcase within what on the surface is a fairly limited palette….
Oreza comes in much heavier and this works, almost Sabbathesque in its tone, apart from more wonderfully floaty vocals from Taran (eat your heart out Ozzy!). The final track is Son, a brave finale in that it is mostly just a guitar and Taran, almost the mirror image of the opening track? It’s very deliberately stripped back, quite darkly atmospheric, a touch of tribal and certainly not a comfortable number. All in all a fairly unusual number to end a song-set with, brave stuff.
This album is unusual for being what you might call Melancholic Doom-Folk – but it does work by and large although there are times where I was hoping for more variety of arrangement/pace/mood/whatever. Leonov are an intriguing and tight-knit set of musicians, at their best giving Dawnwalker / Katatonia some serious competition. It’s not perfect – and to be honest not an album that will send you rushing out to buy it – but if they can crack that greater sense of dynamics to create more light and shade across a song-set, they’re onto something, and should be lauded for a brave production.