Monday, September 9, 2013

Music Monday: Leper's Beautiful Gray Day

(Review originally posted at A Flame in the Dark in February '13)

Grrr Records has never had a massive roster, but has nevertheless managed to bring forth an eclectic group of bands and musicians. Over the years, the label has introduced the blues rock of Resurrection Band, hardcore punk from Crashdog, a modern, post grunge effort by a group of teenagers named Sheesh, Celtic folk rock, hippie rock, and now solid goth act Leper.

Leper, who has been around since around 2000, describes themselves as "a darker Pink Floyd, an Edgier Cure with some NIN mixed in." This seems like as good a description as any.

Beautiful Gray Day is Leper's third full-length album, and possibly their most accessible to date. Though the first two albums were replete with monster movie and horror references, BGD eschews such enticements in favor of a subtler, more moody approach. For one thing, even the title is just a touch more upbeat than the instantly-depressing title of their sophomore effort, "And Everybody Died." Their debut was even less subtly titled Kreischen (from German, The Shriek).

Leper tends to let their lyrics dictate the flow of the music. Because of this, some of the tracks sort of plod interestingly along ("Ascolta"), while others lean toward Nine-Inch-Nails-inspired industrial ("Spezza Spezza Spezza"). Possibly the most accessible track (read: radio friendly) is the medium-paced "Perseguita (Haunt)." The song borrows heavily from The Cure, leaning almost toward catchy before pulling slightly back to maintain its mostly dreary feel.

Lyrically, you get a real feel for the ministry aspects of band on this album, more so than in previous works. Some of the songs on BGD ("Oido Tutto - I hate Everything," and "Fai Come Vuoi - Do As Thou Wilt") seem almost a direct challenge to much of the Goth/Scene lifestyle, while others, like "Non Ho Piu Paura Di Dormire (I'm Not Afraid to Sleep Anymore)" act more as an answer to the fears and emotions that drive people to it.

Overall, this third effort from Leper is a dark but enjoyable musical journey from dark alternative rock to an ambient industrial. Whether you or not you describe yourself as "goth," Leper presents an almost friendly introduction to a mysterious, and often beautiful, artistic style.

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