Leviathan
Howl Mockery At The Cross


4.5
superb

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
July 26th, 2007 | 51 replies | 9,886 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


To the point of no return. That is a statement which can be made about many Black Metal albums, because once you start spinning the disk you really have reached the point of no return. With that, you are then pummeled with an unstoppable onslaught of reverb, blast beats, and horrible shrieks which the normal person would find unbearable. We Black Metallers are a hardened crowd indeed, taking what could be called music's darkest and most brutal form and embracing it as our form of expression and throughput to the world we simply mock. It may be the full on hatred that almost all Black Metal bands release in their work that creates that allure for us, but what I can say is true is that Black Metal and it's dark followers are a breed of their own.

What is synonymous with Black Metal though? I bet you could come up with a hundred stereotypes which actually are mainly true, but most all of this centers around the Scandinavia region of Europe, certainly not the United States. But alas, here we are, looking California's Leviathan right in it's hardened, satanist eyes. Releasing a total of 28 EP's, LP's, Demos, Compilations, and Splits since 1998, it is easy to say that Leviathan has been pretty active. Leviathan is a one man band, consisting of the evil, sinister mastermind Wrest. It's easy to point out Leviathan as the best American Black Metal band out there, with some seriously evil material the likes of which is pretty much never seen in America. With 2005's Howl Mockery At The Cross we have a collection of demos labeled by Wrest as "Selections remembered from the damaged cassettes recorded from 2000-2002.", which he follows afterward with the comment "This is not a release of retrogression.... but of chronology"

Demos usually aren't that good right? Wrong. Wrest collected some of the best songs from these demos and sewed them together into one monster of a collection. From the crashing start of Summoning Lupine to the bitter end of Nothing Changes this is a trip into the depths of hell. This is simple, pure Black Metal, but Wrest manages to add his own touches to the songs. Whether it be some spine-tingling riffs or even a brooding sound of a deranged animal growling, it is sure to scare many listeners.

The guitars are vastly better than what I'm used to from The Tenth Sub Level Of Suicide, being distorted and sinister sounding, but also churning out some of the best Black Metal riffing I've heard yet. Wrest writes some great riffs which are catchy, headbanger's material but still manage to attain that raw, diabolical sound which Leviathan is known for. Take a look at the opening riff to the blasphemous Liar Of Nazareth, with sweeping guitars turning into a riff of pure Black Metal ecstasy. Also notable are the riffs in Just Under Tainted Grace, Lycanthropus Rex, and Summoning Lupine. Even the bass shines in this album, something which I can't say occurs much. The bass is utilized as a main instrument at some points, rather than background filler. This helps Wrest create some of the dark atmospheres he is so good at forming. It's just great when the guitars fade away to reveal a great bass line, a nice change from what I'm used to with Metal albums. The drums are also very solid, and get the job done well. Wrest was quoted in an interview saying that the drums are his instrument of choice, and the one he has the most experience with, it's just a shame he doesn't get a real chance to shine on the drums.

A Leviathan review would not be complete without mentioning the pure hatred and diabolical evil in Wrest's tortured cries. Although his vocals are obviously distorted in some way, the vocals just add to the atmosphere which is created, just flattening you with a brooding, hateful feeling. Also used to great effect are some ambient noises, such as the frightening growling of a beast used in Lycanthropus Rex, all adding to the ever present feeling of despair.

I cannot say there is a upbeat part of this entire album, it is all just one trip to the point of no return. Certainly a fantastic Leviathan album, everything from the cover art to the bass is crafted with the utmost perfection, all weaving itself together to create one of the most evil Black Metal albums around.

Pros
+Great Vocals
+Some Memorable Guitar Riffs
+Awesome Bass
+Atmosphere Is Immaculately Produced
+Great Use Of Ambient Noises
+Heavy

Cons
-Production Could Be Better
-The Last Track Is A Bit On The Weak Side
-Drumming Isn't Anything Special

Recommended Tracks
Liar Of Nazareth
Summoning Lupine
Lycanthropus Rex
Just Under Tainted Grace



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user ratings (31)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 26th 2007



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I had a lot of fun writing this review. This album is sooo good.

Cravinov13
July 26th 2007



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You did Wrest justice. Great review!

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 26th 2007



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

He deserves this justice. I'm gonna pick up "Tentacles Of Whorror" when I get paid tomorrow.

(Can you vote plz Crav =D)

Cravinov13
July 26th 2007



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Voted. I'm gonna start reviewing again soon. You may take intrest in what I plan to review.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 26th 2007



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm sure I will. Expand my Black Metal tastes please, I'm always keen to listen to new bands.

Cravinov13
July 26th 2007



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ummmm, if you like this you will love Watain. I'm gonna review their new album Sworn To The Dark soon. Moonblood is a good band if you liek the early Deathspell. Xasthur's album Npcturnal Poisoning is really good even though all his other works are complete crap. Amesoeurs, early Peccatum, Twilight (supergroup featuring Wrest), Urfaust (though they use clean vocals), Encephalon (an unknown band featuring a friend of mine. very professional and contains influences by City Of Catapillar), and Draugar are all good choices.

Wizard
July 26th 2007



19210 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"It's easy to point out Leviathan as the best American Black Metal band out there"
Agalloch far surpass these guys, not only because of their diversity but the simple fact that they have a better sense of melody. Awesome review, not too fond of these guys. But I will give this album a listen since its held in high regard by black metal fans.

Digging: Monarch - Sabbracadaver

rattlehead42147
July 26th 2007



1345 Comments


i wasn't impressed by tentacles of whorror but TTSLOS sounds okay i think ill download that and if i like it ill get this, great review, you should be approved anytime now .

Wizard
July 26th 2007



19210 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"It's easy to point out Leviathan as the best American Black Metal band out there"
Agalloch far surpass these guys, not only because of their diversity but the simple fact that they have a better sense of melody. Awesome review, not too fond of these guys. But I will give this album a listen since its held in high regard by black metal fans.

Zeruiah
July 26th 2007



4 Comments


I like The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide so this may be pretty good.

Cravinov13
July 26th 2007



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

These guys? Leviathan is on guy wizard. And Agalloch is great but your knowledge of Leviathan is pretty weak. They're entirely diffrent anways.

BallsToTheWall
July 27th 2007



44164 Comments


Heard alot of good things about them.

Silenius
July 27th 2007



302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I actually think Leviathan is one of the few Black Metal bands where the drums add depth to the music. Too bad that I can't stand the production, and this is kinda boring after a few listens. Good review once again though.

TheHamburgerman
July 27th 2007



1283 Comments


Production Could Be Better
But this is Black Metal!

FR33L0RD
July 27th 2007



1461 Comments


Im not in Black Metal, but this review is great

rattlehead42147
July 27th 2007



1345 Comments


whoever neg'd this is a fuckin idiot.

Crimson
July 27th 2007



1935 Comments


Great review, I'll look out for this album.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 27th 2007



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Whoever neg'ed this please tell me why, it makes me mad when people do that without reason. Thanks though everyone else for the positive feedback =D

Agalloch far surpass these guys, not only because of their diversity but the simple fact that they have a better sense of melody.


I would say I agree with you if I considered Agalloch a full-on Black Metal band, but lately they have a ton of folk/atmospheric influences which pull them farther away from Black Metal alone.This Message Edited On 07.27.07

Cravinov13
July 27th 2007



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wrest has some of the best vocals I've ever heard come from a black metal artist.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 27th 2007



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ya he's a great vocalist, his voice is almost inhuman, but like I said in this review they're distorted.



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