Leviathan
Scar Sighted


4.1
excellent

Review

by Xenophanes STAFF
April 6th, 2015 | 282 replies


Release Date: 03/03/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The first truly great Leviathan album stands heads and shoulders above the wrest.

Jeff Whitehead (Wrest) may not have given US black metal a name, but he did give it a voice. Slinking under the noses of outlier genre fans, his influence has been muted by other acts that have been deemed household names. By now the success and praise of black metal progenitors Weakling has been written in stone, with the west coast group being deemed the founders of the regional sound. However, it was Wrest (behind a veil named Leviathan) that has undeniably (albeit quietly) become the foundation of the localized take on the genre.

Existing as a pillar, Leviathan has consistently held up USBM since the 90s. Back when black metal spread through word of mouth rather than blog posts and web zines, Wrest was there aiding the movement. Since the project's inception, Leviathan has featured just about every aesthetic that the genre has become known for, changing with the times and conforming to new ideas presented by other trail blazers. Harsh vocals, cold atmospheres, and dark ambience litter Leviathan's extensive catalogue, never truly meshing into one cohesive package. Yet two decades later, things have finally fallen into place. With the band's most recent outing, Scar Sighted, Wrest has assembled a compendium of his entire existence, and that of black metal all together.

Scar Sighted is the pristine emblem of an entire career. Brimming with the caustic darkness of his later material, the album feels wholly new while still featuring the same haggard nihilism that Wrest is known for. Whereas True Traitor, True Whore was a rushed mess, [i}Scar Sighted[/i] feels like a lovingly crafted work in which every detail was mulled over. Gone is the chunky, clumsy sound of his 2011 record. And hell, even the shrill, over done treble sound is gone too. Here we have a thick, grim, and bleak atmosphere that feels like a acrid miasma. It's undeniably Leviathan yet somehow refreshingly new.

This is undeniably a drummer's album in may respects. It's well known that Wrest is a percussionist at heart and it's beautifully obvious. "Dawn Vibration," for example, seems built entirely around his skillful work on the set with a a production that allows for each blast to ring perfectly. On its own this is fine enough, but it really does give the album a driving sense of purpose.

While at its heart lies a deeply black, metal record, Scar Sighted has a wonderfully understated doom soul. Much of the album has a meaty, dense, and pervasive tone that feels darkly effecting amalgam of doom and dark ambient. The title track showcases the two major influences, as Wrest distantly wails over a thick, slow moving hum of reverb and ambience. Yet this truly is just a small taste of what makes up the grander whole. Bouts of heavy metal and death metal manage to shine through as well, making the most diverse piece of music in Leviathan's discography. The true mastery behind it all is how perfectly well it all holds together. Such a hodge podge blend of influences that are so "in the now" should come off as hokey, but Leviathan deftly avoids such overt silliness. A few samplings aside, Scar Sighted nary misses a step. Throughout, Wrests treats the listener with a shockingly deep, varied, and mature effort.

Scar Sighted is Leviathan incarnate. Everything from the art work to the most basal bits of music reeks of Wrest's input. His personal life has been talked about and dissected ad nauseum, and honestly, it isn't really insightful to make baseless comparisons to his music. Regardless of how Scar Sighted was born, it acts as the crowning achievement of the project's career. Whether this will end up as a swan song or the start of a brand new era, Wrest has made his most impressive creation yet.



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user ratings (408)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Gameofmetal STAFF (4.5)
Twisted and disturbing in the best possible way....

lardplanet (4.5)
Jef's typical walls of sound stylings, agonising vocal delivery, and surprisingly recognisable sampl...


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheBarber
April 6th 2015


3574 Comments


yay! record is amazing

Digging: Mamaleek - Via Dolorosa

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2015


10178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review, messed up the italics in the album title in third paragraph tho

Artuma
April 6th 2015


29118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dat pun in the summary

deathschool
April 6th 2015


21927 Comments


This review is ridiculously concise. Living up to that Staff tag hard. Album kicks bunches of ass.

Gump
April 6th 2015


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album. Theres a bit of a death metal lean in some of the riffs/drumming I'm diggin quite a bit. Good review

emester
April 6th 2015


8181 Comments


Great review. This is my favorite record of the year so far.

Pun in the summary was a bit cheesy, but it works

DoctorDoom
April 6th 2015


2987 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fan of this record. Also a fan of puns. Good review

deathschool
April 6th 2015


21927 Comments


The summary is what really matters. Agreed, guys

DoctorDoom
April 6th 2015


2987 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's also ironic, a guy who used to keep everything about himself so private 10-15 years ago, is now such a public and polarizing figure, never would have believed it ten years ago.

RivalSkoomaDealer
April 6th 2015


1600 Comments


Metal AOTY so far.

Digging: Artificial Brain - Infrared Horizon

Serenityinaz12
April 6th 2015


134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

WTF happened to all the comments? This is the 3rd time now for this release I've seen the comments all disappear then restart. There were 8 pages of comments, then like another 6 or 7, and now back to 1 page again.

Serenityinaz12
April 6th 2015


134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

nvm, I see each seperate review has it's own set of comments.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2015


10178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Lol



actually lmao



it gets funnier every time I read your comments serenity, no disrespect but still

DoctorDoom
April 6th 2015


2987 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

5/5 comment

Hawks
April 6th 2015


51902 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hahahaha that's hilarious.



Album rules though.

Digging: Swallow the Sun - The Morning Never Came

SpiritCrusher2
April 6th 2015


5709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

AOTY so far [3]

DoctorDoom
April 6th 2015


2987 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Where do you guys rank this among the rest of his discography?

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2015


10178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's my favorite, but Massive Conspiracy is close behind. Could overtake it.

Hawks
April 6th 2015


51902 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is 3rd or 4th for me tbh, but his discog is so consistent.

emester
April 6th 2015


8181 Comments


Personally this is my second favorite behind Massive Conspiracy.

But yeah gotta agree with Hawks. Wrest always quality stuff in store



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