Album Review: LEVIATHAN The First Sublevel Of Suicide
The First Sublevel Of Suicide (Ascension Monuments Media) contains five demo tracks from Leviathan’s debut LP, The Tenth Sublevel Of Suicide, originally released in 2003. The debut album was met with great critical applause, setting up the foundation for Leviathan’s sinister and nihilistic discography. Leviathan is a musical force that breathes with tremendous nihilism, exuding darkness, lingering in cold isolation. Along with the excellent use and display of emotion, Leviathan has also consistently produced top-notch song structure and technicality.
The First Sublevel Of Suicide acts as the beginning of many releases to come from Leviathan mastermind Wrest (Jef Whitehead). This release is the first time these demos have ever been made available to the public, all originally recorded by Wrest, with the mastering done by none other than Ken Sorceron (The Faceless / Abigail Williams).
The demos found on this collection are as follow:
- Scenic Solitude & Leprosy
- The Bitter Emblem of Dissolve
- He whom the Shadows Move Towards
- Mine Molten Armor
- The Idiot Sun
When comparing these demo tracks to the songs from the debut LP, the demos actually have a somewhat cleaner production, while the material that’s on the debut record leans towards a lo-fi quality. Even though this slight difference exists, both versions of all these tracks display the same range in captivating song structure and emotion.
“Scenic Solitude & Leprosy” wails in with an anxiety driven distortion, the vocals screaming forth, with the drums rolling in like an avalanche. The adrenaline continues to rise, crashing down with lightening rage, just before shifting into a hypnotic and hectic rhythm. “The Bitter Emblem of Dissolve” starts things off with bashing drums and savage guitar work, but by the halfway point, transitions into this beautiful heartbreaking haze of minimal instrumentation. “Mine Molten Armor” is a whirlwind of various tempo shifts, producing thrills and hysteria throughout its progression.
Over the years Leviathan has become one of the most unique and talented acts within black metal. Wrest’s 2015 LP Scar Sighted was another release heavily applaud by both critics and fans. So while we wait on Leviathan's follow up full-length LP, The First Sublevel Of Suicide makes for a worthy addition to any Leviathan fan's collection, or for anyone who loves pure black metal.
Album rating: 9/10