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eradication of vowels? - 87%

RapeTheDead, December 17th, 2016

I was a little bit hesitant to check LVTHN out at first just because of the stupid band name. At first I didn't even notice people mentioning them because I figured it was just shorthand for Leviathan or something, like Jef Whitehead decided to retroactively take out all the vowels from his band's name. Then people kept using it, so I eventually figured out that they were talking about an entirely different band. The fact that it isn't short form for something else makes it all the more confounding. How do you pronounce it? Ell-vee-tee-aich-en? Livthin? How am I going to recommend this to random people I meet on the street without sounding like a tool?

Interestingly enough, Eradication of Nescience kind of sounds like it could have been a lost Leviathan album right off the bat. There's a lot of dissonance in the riffs that gives everything a very bitter and spiteful flavor immediately as the first track comes storming in, and the guitar has a sort of jangly tone to it that wouldn't sound too out-of-place on one of Leviathan's rawer works. This definitely doesn't have low production values, though. If anything, the sound is more full and clean than you might expect from a black metal band, most notably in how clear the bass tone is. It's very easy for black metal to completely neuter the bass in favor of that thin, cold atmosphere, but the healthy hum of the bass on Eradication of Nescience gives the riffs a sinister undertone that is actually quite unique and not something I've heard much elsewhere. The bass also really helps drive the rocking midpaced sections with the snare hits on two and four--I'm finding that my enjoyment of black metal albums nowadays largely coincides with where the band puts those groovy, midpaced moments. They're used fairly frequently on this album, but they always seem to find the right times to throw them in. The one-minute mark of "My Indignation", thirty seconds into "Ecstatic Liberation", and about three and a half minutes into "Uncreation's Dance" are a few of my favorite moments where they throw in a nice rockin' beat to alleviate the tension a bit. LVTHN loves to create tension, most of this album consists of blastbeats underneath ominous and aggressive black metal riffing, but the drummer has much more variety in his blastbeats than most and the songwriting is equally varied, even though all of the songs have a fairly similar goal.

I doubt this will sound particularly original if you're already well-versed in modern, dissonant black metal, but something about the way LVTHN does things makes them a cut above their peers. It's not the vocals, which are fairly standard black metal rasps which don't do much that makes them particularly noticeable one way or another. (Aside from one moment at the five-and-a-half minute mark of "Ascension into the Palace of the Dark Gods" where he sounds like a teenage Tom G. Warrior letting out an "ugh" as he's sent to his room. It's kinda funny when taken out of context, but actually works surprisingly well.) The songwriting is consistently stimulating and the band is tight, sure, but there's gotta be some x-factor that sets Eradication of Nescience apart. It might just be the bass playing, to be honest, as the thicker tone makes even the most stereotypical of ideas sound fresh, and the added layer of harmony (or dissonance, depending on how you want to look at it) gives the band a chance to play around with some different riff textures that make this a pretty fun listen, despite how ostensibly serious it tries to be. That might not all be due to the bass tone, though. It's just that last little dash of spice that adds fresh flavor to a sound that was already complete and well-rounded.

When all is said and done, I think LVTHN have perfected the balancing act of writing music that you can listen to when you're angry and brooding, but also when you wanna get drunk, rock out and mosh. Maybe, for some people, those two states of feeling are one and the same. Maybe the members of LVTHN have exactly that kind of personality, which is why they are effortlessly able to write an album that is simultaneously dark, serious, and a hell of a lot of fun.

Between Death Fortress, Tardigrada and now this, Fallen Empire has been the kings of pure, unfiltered black metal this year. Eradication of Nescience is some genuinely great stuff, and I will enthusiastically recommend this band to pretty much any black metal fan despite my complete inability to pronounce their name correctly.