Leviathan
Massive Conspiracy Against All Life


4.5
superb

Review

by Karl V.H. USER (81 Reviews)
July 6th, 2008 | 166 replies | 26,628 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wrest does wonders on Leviathan' Massive Conspiracy Against All Life, creating a black metal album full of experimentation and strange ambience.

11 of 11 thought this review was well written

There were a few reasons why I absolutely hated black metal, when nu-metal was still sounding fresh to me a number of years ago. Firstly, the atrocious production sounded sloppy and unpolished, leaving me frustrated and with a huge migraine. Second, the buzzing guitars and lack of variety in the vocal department (raspy vocals are still tasteless to this day) were also huge turnoffs. Thirdly, the cheesy ‘Kiss’ appearance and the image effect that these bands were going for made me *** my pants with laughter. Generally, these are very common complaints that I see plastered all over internet forums and reviews for black metal albums. With repetitive objections such as these, it’s a wonder how people even begin to comprehend what makes black metal special in the first place. Its actually very simple; you understand the harsh ideology that bands like Burzum and Mayhem bring to the table and you can either choose to laugh and ignore it or you begin to notice the subtle nuances that are flowing within each song (ie. a tremolo picked guitar line that stands out after you’ve sifted through the horrible production that most black metal records thrive upon). Leviathan’s Massive Conspiracy Against All Life brings forth these black metal stereotypes but throws in a splash of creative ingenuity to craft an almost perfect black metal record.

Continuing upon Leviathan’s last spectacular album Tentacles Of Whorror, Wrest, who is the one sole member of this band, provides an overall big step forward with his ideas and musicianship. Condensing and tightening (or expanding) his songs into seven, eight plus minute epic black metal opuses, Wrest wrestles and succeeds at creating long, brooding songs rather than going straight for the kill like he did with most of the songs off Tentacles of Horror. Already Massive Conspiracy Against All Life might sound a little tedious, especially for people who like their black metal steak cut up instead of being served as a whole. Fear not as the songs themselves go off in several different directions frequently without drawing out what could have been a five minute song drawn out into a 20 minute marathon (Wolves in the Throne Room’ Two Hunters did this masterfully in 2007). Massive Conspiracy Against All Life uses Leviathan’ past albums as a centre point and expands outward, expressing Wrest’s interests into a more focused and expansive black metal album.

Its amazing how well put together this album is, considering the man behind it all, Wrest (who again has taken a few notes from one-man black metal bands such as Xasthur, Burzum and Striborg to name a few) puts all of his efforts into vocals guitars, drums, bass, keyboards, and sound effects. This is an amazing accomplishment considering the tedious nature of his music and how well put together it sounds. Even the production comes through quite nicely for a black metal album, allowing the listener to pick up on the instruments clearly the first listen through. Don’t get me wrong though, this is still a somewhat raw affair, especially when Wrest goes off into gloomy, dark passages where guitar and sound effects poke their head out of the fog, creating a wretched atmosphere that is reminiscent to the post metal scene except sounding darker and merciless in their displays. These strange passages that change up frequently with traditional, harrowing black metal are topped off by Wrest’ raspy vocals that are for the most part indiscernible. Wrest’s hellish soundscape nightmares are coupled with blast beats and screeching guitar lines that are executed with a surprising amount of variation, creating some fastidious twists and turns in the songs to give us non-elitist black metal fans (see Darkthrone’ Transilvanian Hunger and Ulver’ Nattens Madrigal for a lack of variety in song structure) an album that will always serve as a fresh approach to black metal.

Wrest has produced a fantastic album here, no ifs or buts about it. If your ears were severely disabled after listening to Wrest’ side project, Lurker of Chalice’ self-titled album in 2005, you need not worry here. Leviathan is a far different entity than Wrest’s counterparts in the black metal industry, specializing in creating a more ‘frightening effect’ than pure hatred that is displayed throughout most black metal records. Massive Conspiracy Against All Life capitalizes on black metal experimentation with weird ambience that can be both unsettling and unrelenting at the same time, taking the listener on an impressive black metal expedition; down a narrow, creepy stairway into the depths of hell. Surely to end up on many best-of metal lists for 2008, this is a black metal album that shouldn’t be overlooked.



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user ratings (131)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Wizard
July 6th 2008



18793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album badly needed a review. I hope I did it justice! As always, comments and criticism are welcome. Enjoy the review.

Digging: Triptykon - Melana Chasmata

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2008



16028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[QUOTE=The Review]Its actually very simple; you understand the harsh ideology that bands like Burzum and Mayhem bring to the table and you can either choose to laugh and ignore it or you begin to notice the subtle nuances that are flowing within each song[/QUOTE]
That was back when black metal was about more than the music. That's profoundly reflected in the music itself, because it actually has substance to it.

Today's black metal (Leviathan included) falls far short in that regard. It's lost the very thing which created the scene in the first place, the massive amounts of (somewhat misguided) ideological influences which made black metal more than music. Goes without saying that this kind of music will never be the same.

Anyway, good review. Haven't heard this album yet but I think I'll give it a shot, even amidst my whole hopeless mindset for modern black metal. Wrest can be an idiot and a genius.

That's all for my rant.This Message Edited On 07.06.08

Digging: Katatonia - Kocytean

masscows
July 6th 2008



2236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i've been thinking about checking this out

good review

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2008



16028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

By the way, Leviathan's last album was "Tentacles Of Whorror", not Horror.

masscows
July 6th 2008



2236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and it's Transilvanian Hunger (*)

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2008



16028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

and it's "Nattens Madrigal"

lol

Wizard
July 6th 2008



18793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That was back when black metal was about more than the music. That's profoundly reflected in the music itself, because it actually has substance to it.


I was more going for the fact that these bands continue to write music in this vein but they don't follow up on their hatred claims in the lyrics and such. I guess I should have kept this review more relevant to today's black metal scene than the old. Its just to me, black metal is black metal and I really kind of ignore all that ideological stuff that sets the new and old waves apart. Its just silly, illogical nonsense. And yes, I agree that new black metal records fall far short of their contemporaries in regards to their music being more than just music. I just really like the music.

I saw Crysis that you wrote two excellent reviews for Leviathan and I hope mine is up to par with yours. I will change anything in the review since you know far more about this scene than me. Check this album out though, its by far Leviathans best album to date. I know you would enjoy.


Wizard
July 6th 2008



18793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

God damn mistakes hahaha. Fixing now!

Thanks masscows!

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2008



16028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I know for a fact that I haven't even scratched the surface of the black metal scene, there is so much I don't know and haven't heard. It's quite a large thing to comprehend.

And to ignore the influences from outside the music (especially with the Norwegian scene in the early 1990's) is basically like ignoring the music, simply because the music is only a driving force for everything that happened. At least that's my view of it.

Wizard
July 6th 2008



18793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fixed! Thanks for the pointers when my brain was obviously farting when I was trying to spell album names.

Oh don't get me wrong (maybe I worded my last comment akwardly), the thing that got me into the black metal scene was reading that book Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of Satanic Black Metal and I just thought the whole premise behind their ideas was retarded (that is not my only source either, I've read tons of other stuff out there in internet land). The music is just so evil sounding and its almost surreal in a sense. This Message Edited On 07.06.08

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2008



16028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the thing that got me into the black metal scene was reading that book Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of Satanic Black Metal


I have that book and I've read it quite a few times, good stuff. The only thing that bugs me is that they spend way too long, and I mean WAY too long, with Varg Vikernes. There is so much more to tell besides Varg and his stupid crime.

Wizard
July 6th 2008



18793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thats exactly what I thought too. Even some of the interviews with him just go off into mindless questions that feel irrelevant. Still, I thought the book captured the ideas and thoughts of these bands pretty well. If they had captured the entire scene, it would have been a million pages long. I believe it was you who posted somewhere that on Youtube, they had a 4 part documentry series on Gorgoroth and the Nowegian black metal scene. That was very well done too.

Silenius
July 6th 2008



302 Comments


I haven't heard this album, but I can say that leviathan at least adds some new ideas into his black metal like complex rhythm section parts (bass and drums) and also a few psychedelic influences. At least he's not doing the same shitty Burzum and Darkthrone worship. Good review sounds like a decent album, have you heard Tenth Sub-Level of Suicide and if yes how does it compare?

rasputin
July 6th 2008



14504 Comments


Good review. What I've heard from Wrest (Lurker of Chalice) has been absolutely terrible, so I'm unsure if I'll like this.

Wizard
July 6th 2008



18793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Silenius,
I haven't heard Tenth Sub-Level of Suicide but I have it on order ;)!

Rasputin
Your review of Lurker of Chalice pretty much sums it up hahahaha. This is wayyyyyyyy better.

Thank you both for the kind words!

Essence
July 6th 2008



3562 Comments


lol wut a bad riview u shud go bak 2 riviewing gud metalllz lik CoRn lolol

DaustMasana
July 7th 2008



7 Comments


I have yet to pick up a CD by this band, but I really want to. Stupid memory...

fireaboveicebelow
July 7th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

best leviathan release ever. a graceful swansong

Epilogue
July 7th 2008



1557 Comments


Great review wizard! A freind of mine really, really digs this band but I havent found enough intrest in me to check em out. Mabey this time I will.

Silenius
July 7th 2008



302 Comments


Yeah about Lurker of Chalice, Leviathan is way better so even if you didn't like LoC still give Leviathan a shot.



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