Leper – Beautiful Gray Day


Chicago is not just a huge city in Illinois, but also home to JPUSA, Grrr Records and Leper. Their 2005 debut album ‘Kreischen’ (meaning ‘the shrieking’) was heavily influenced by Wedding Party, The Sisters Of Mercy and Nine Inch Nails. Whereas it leaned more towards NIN on ‘And Everybody Died’ (2009) and ‘Beautiful Gray Day’ (2012). The industrial and gothic rock band is comprised of Skot Shaw (lead vocals, guitar & drum programming) and Otto Jensen (bass), with a further guest on their latest album in the shape of Cecily Marx (violins & vocals).

Grrr Records states “This latest goth album mixes electronic, industrial and rock genres and features dark, emotional themes of loneliness and malaise that are rimmed with romance and hope. Even the album title, Beautiful Gray Day, communicates the idea that the beauty of love and hope can be experienced in something as seemingly dark and depressing as a gray rainy day.”

The gothic expression features Skot Shaw’s hauntingly melodic and darkly brooding vocals from the outset of ‘Ascolta’ (Harken). Then ‘Cosa Vuole Dire Morire’ (What Does It Mean To Die) opens with film dialogue and gently strummed guitar as they add in the layers of keyboard, whilst retaining an upbeat mood in contrast to the lyrics.

‘Perseguita’ (Darling Haunt Me) takes a more industrial route with a shadowy, emotional eeriness. “Darlin’ close your eyes – the wolves howl tonight / And imagine that it’s me – serenade you oh so sweetly / Darlin’ close your eyes”.

One of my personal favourites is ‘Lacrime Nere’ (Jet Black Tears) with its surging rhythm, funereal synth and background choral vocals. This is followed by the guest violin in ‘Non Ho Piu Paura Di Dormire’ (I’m Not Afraid To Sleep Anymore) and the harsh backing screams echoing “I will pray… savagely / I will pray… violently / I will pray… earnestly / I will PRAY”.

There is a further taste of brutality in ‘Spezza Spezza Spezza’ as it starts off with quiet menace before building to a barely suppressed psychotic rage of “Words are weapons, chop chop chop”. They give you a breather with chiming guitars in the gloriously epic ‘Se Solo Io’ (If Only I) before ending with the semi-acoustic ‘Il Modo Che Tutto Si Svela’ (The Way It All Unfolds).

Rating: 8.5/10

Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby

1. Ascolta (Harken)
2. Cosa Vuole Dire Morire (What Does It Mean To Die)
3. Perseguita (Haunt)
4. La Pioggia Triste, Triste (The Sad, Sad Rain)
5. Fai Come Vuoi (Do As Thou Wilt)
6. Odio Tutto (I Hate Everything)
7. Lacrime Nere (Jet Black Tears)
8. Non Ho Piu Paura Di Dormire (I’m Not Afraid To Sleep Anymore)
9. L’Artista Dentro Di Te (The Artist In You)
10. Spezza Spezza Spezza (Chop Chop Chop)
11. Se Solo Io (If Only I)
12. Il Modo Che Tutto Si Svela (The Way It All Unfolds)

Record Label: Grrr Records, Sept. 2012

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