Quality Metal in the United States is few and far between. The country is awash with trendy, unoriginal, and badly written excuses for Metal. The Black Metal scene in the United States is even more dismal, with Agalloch straying farther and farther away from Black Metal, Xasthur getting worse as time goes on, and other bands which aren't up to par with their Scandanavian brothers, it seems that Black Metal is going extinct in the United States. However, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. San Francisco's blasphemous, one man Black Metal act Leviathan
is still going strongly, playing the incoherent and evil Black Metal so many fans admire. It's everything one could want from a Black Metal band and then some, consistently putting out quality material which is worthy of comparison with the likes of European Black Metal, something which almost every USBM band can't say.
If you have heard Leviathan's
first full-length album The Tenth Sub Level Of Suicide
you will know that Leviathan
means business, and that you will only find the darkest of the dark, and the most evil and blasphemous of Black Metal. The man behind the mask, or should I say the man behind the corpsepaint, Wrest is a very talented individual who plays every instrument and provides the vocals, and everything is of the utmost quality (production aside). Also if you know a lot about Leviathan
, you will know that Wrest is not afraid of experimenting with various sounds and instruments, whether it be a piano or acoustic guitar, Leviathan
has used pretty much all of it at least once. Most of the time, though, it's all straight-forward, in-your-face Black Metal. Wrest is not one to screw around, and he is dead serious when it comes to his music.
The guitars on the album are of the typical Black Metal type, lots of grinding and buzz-saw like sounds, but also every once in a while there is a break from the action, like in the middle of A Bouquet Of Blood For Skull
, where the heavy instruments break off to reveal a calming, yet chilling, bridge, with ominous guitar picking and strange ambient effects in the background. There are also some great riffs featured here, but don't expect them to be melodic, they are all very crushing and hateful, and thats what makes Leviathan
different. Wrest isn't afraid of breaking away from grinding, fast guitars and to go into a catchy, dark, and sinister riff which will get any metalhead moshing in a matter of seconds, perfectly portrayed in the song Heir To The Noose Of Ghoul
, which showcases tons of riff changes and great variety. The drumming is very, very well done, and it is part of what makes the overall sound Leviathan
produces. Wrest often strays away from the typical blast beat and adds his own touches, whether it be a fill here and there or a nasty double bass kick, and it will knock you off your feet and take you by surprise.
The vocals are another thing which makes me grin from ear to ear. Wrest is one of the best vocalists in Black Metal, and even though his voice is layered and sometimes distorted, Wrest has one of the most evil Black Metal shrieks I've ever encountered. They are high-pitched and ghastly, it's hard to imagine a human being can make a sound like that. Needless to say they fit the music with the utmost perfection, and you won't even notice the lack of variety in the vocals, since none is needed. It's a shame that the vocals are so well done, because the production of this album is pretty terrible. The guitars are a bit overpowered by the drums, and the bass is a bit swallowed, but since this is a Black Metal album, I won't complain too much.
The album clocks in at a very lengthy 1.2 hours, and it's hard to take in with one sitting. The good thing about the length though, is that you get a ton of high quality Black Metal, and this album proves that Leviathan
is at the forefront of the current USBM scene, producing album after album of quality material which is easily accessible to the fans of this band. Tentacles Of Whorror
is a superbly written piece of music, that is worth the attention of Black Metal fans all over the world.
+Excellent Guitar Work
+Good Variety Of Riffs