After really connecting with Leprous’ previous album The Congregation, I was eager for new material from the prog five-piece and awaited Malina with bated breath – but unfortunately, it just doesn’t have that special spark to it – in fact, it’s a somewhat dreary and disappointing listen.
It possibly doesn’t help that opening track Bonneville doesn’t quite ‘grab’ you. It’s a somewhat dreary opener that feels a little all over the place; the vocals and lyrics feel a bit uninspiring and the instrumentation doesn’t seem to have much direction, jerking from slow to fast with the juxtaposition not quite working. However following track Stuck picks up a little with an in-your-face opening that piques your interest a little more and there’s a lot more drive to the song as a whole which is good.
Unfortunately, following that the album does dip a little again, with some of the subsequent tracks such as Illuminate and title track Malina feeling like rehashed ideas from other tracks. Sometimes repetition works on albums, with returning melodies and ideas worming into your head, but with Malina it just feels like you’re listening to duplicate tracks, which can’t be what Leprous intended!
As a whole, Malina is a bit of a let-down. There are some good elements, such as the previously mentioned Stuck, and Mirage is another great inclusion, but as a whole it doesn’t reach the heights that Leprous are so capable of reaching.