Band: King Leviathan
Album: Paean Heretica
Release Date: 5th August, 2017
Label: Infernum Records
Review by John
With the release of their full length debut, Brighton’s King Leviathan are looking set to strengthen a growing reputation forged on the back of their first two EPs and some impressive live shows.
From the very first moments of ‘Primitive Baptism’ to the death throes of ‘The Grand Congregation’, there is a deliciously dark streak running through the album as killer riffs and brilliantly judged dual vocals shine through.
With it’s almost hymnal tone, ‘Primitive Baptism’ is a haunting and impressive way to start, but things only get better from that point on, as the pure brutality of ‘Sanctification’ comes at you like a ferocious bear on steroids. With a nice dual vocal style, varying between an angry blackened snarl and a cleaner style with an impressive range that has echoes of Serj Tankian, and an outstanding guitar solo, it keeps things moving along nicely.
Before you have time to draw breath, the aural onslaught continues with the thrashier sound of ‘Kingdom’ which again seems to find the perfect vocal balance between all out blackened fury and harmonic bliss.
‘Agony’ initially slows things down with its almost melodic introduction, before the pace picks up somewhat. Despite the undeniable brutality, there’s an underlying beauty hidden deep within, and it’s the kind of track that reveals a little bit more with each subsequent listen, with the guitar work towards the end being a particular highlight.
There’s a more technical sound to ‘Doomsayer’ as it burrows its way into your head with its winning combination of twisted riffs and unyielding blastbeats. Once again using the more melodic vocals to good effect, it is probably around this point that you realise just how good a sound King Leviathan are moulding.
If ‘Doomsayer’ had a more technical feel then ‘Coffin Swallower’ just goes for all out evil. Thrashing along at frantic pace, its downright nasty sound is, oddly, an absolute joy to behold. With chunky riffs initially coming at you thick and fast, it pauses mid song to a reflective, haunting mood, before once again dragging you down into the murky depths of its brutally metallic genius.
‘Harrowing Eyes’ is another riff laden dark thrash gem, while ‘Like Wolves To The Throat Of The Lion’ is an epic journey to the depths of full on anger and despair. With anguished vocals aplenty, it definitely stands out as one of the high points of the album.
But the undoubted stand out here is album closer ‘The Great Congregation’. A sprawling 7 and a half minute semi masterpiece, which combines a number of influences, with a bit of thrash, a pinch of metalcore, a smidgen of stoner tinged doom and even a slight hint ofpower metal guitars coming together to form one beautiful whole. Packed with more riffs than the average metal album, as it fades out on the ominous sound of an approaching storm, it is a track that stays in the memory long after the album is done.
Added on top of all of this is almost flawless production values which give a sense of just how much a labour of love this album was for the band.
Yet again 2017 has delivered another borderline masterpiece which is added to an ever growing list of contenders for album of the year.
‘Paean Heretica’ deserves to proudly take its place as one of the most impressive debut albums of the last decade, and is a release that will be on my playlist for a very long time to come.
It’s time to worship the old Gods and join the cult of Leviathan.
A remarkable effort.
1. Primitive Baptism
6. Coffin Swallower
7. Harrowing Eyes
8. Like Wolves At The Throat Of The Lion
9. The Grand Congregation
Visit the band on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KingLeviathanMetal
Find the EPs here: kingleviathan.bandcamp.com