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Bold steps towards new directions. - 96%

DSOfan97, February 26th, 2016

Wrest can definitely claim that he has been through some serious shit in his life. Life has given him too many lemons to count and recently he had to overcome the horrid accusations (all false) of an ex partner. However his life has been going well lately. Why am I telling you all this? Because it's all here of course! The pain, the anguish, the anger... The catharsis. Scar Sighted is a test for the mind and the soul. It will make you think of bizarre and horrible stuff, it will make you depressed and it will drive you damn near insanity. And in the end; it will reward you.

The eerie yet calming chord progression of the opening track will lead you straight into 'The Smoke of the Torment' and that's where the roller coaster ride begins. You will find the fierce, spastic power chords of the early days, the sparse ambient breaks of 'A Silhouette in Splinters' era as well as some new elements like death metal grooves. If you want a reference point check out Dead Congregation's sophomore album to get an idea. And finally with great pleasure you will discover that Lurker of Chalice's legacy has not been forgotten. You will encounter dissonant/consonant melodies intertwining with each other, experimental structuring and spine chilling crescendos where Wrest's performance is so damn amazing it should be taught in high school music classes.

The instrumentation doesn't vary from previous Leviathan efforts, however the execution makes the difference. Way more technical than any other Leviathan or Lurker of Chalice album it stands out as one of the most amazing of 2015. The tempo is altered multiple times and none of them feels awkward, whereas there are moments that would normally sound horrible BUT when Wrest decides to do a weird acoustic break with maniacal vocals all over it, you just remain silent and listen in awe.

Another great thing here is that Wrest uses his goth rock influences extensively. Everyone who has listened his 'V (Demo Five)' demo knows that he is a big fan of goth rock, death rock and post punk. For the first time I listened to Leviathan and said: "Hey that reminds me of Christian Death and Bauhaus". And it's a good feature, I mean it really works for the album. And when those softer emotional moments are in contrast with the more straightforward metal moments the result is monumental.

If one wants to be fair, then one must give props to Billy Anderson for his exquisite work on the production and mixing. It is the best ever in any album in which Wrest is involved. The bass is audible, the guitars are constantly piercing your eardrums not in the old fashioned, lo-fi demo production but in a more skull crushing sense which has been first demonstrated during the 00's and established in the current decade. Now about the sound of the drums... Actually you know what? Fuck it I'm going to have a paragraph only for them.

Drums are Wrest's prime instrument. The one he has practiced long before his solo projects, since he was in Gift Horse (his first band). He knows how to do some tasty fills and great rolls on the toms. His skills are quite underrated to be honest but I'm sure that Scar Sighted will fix this at first chance, showing to everyone what a great drummer Wrest is. It's not that you will hear insane blast beats but there's something way, way larger here. It is his elegant, thoughtful style that wins the game. If he has to, he will apply a less-is-more approach to his playing. If he feels he needs to crush the damn instrument to dust he will do so. So yes in some peculiar way the drums are the highlight here.

But on the other hand every instrument highlights the album's aesthetic, which is both suffocating and beautiful (some times simultaneously) and that is quite hard to come across in these days. Be it the guitars that create melodies that make your hair stand, the bass that provides the needed dose of heaviness even in the most ethereal passages, of course the drums and the synths and last but not least Wrest's voice which is just magnificent. Listen to the title track to get an idea. Those screams are achieved only once in a lifetime.

On a final note, I often listen to Scar Sighted as if it is the soundtrack to the life of a man that has gone through horrible situations (such as those in the first paragraph). The depressing atmosphere which leads to the relieving finale is the perfect score for every hardship you've been through. And you can follow an imaginary timeline for each one of those. Scar Sighted is a work of ART (in capitals). A total milestone bound to become an absolute reference point for the next generations of black metal bands and listeners alike. Scar Sighted can make you stand on your feet when you're down therefore it is essential.

Favorite tracks: I cannot pick but if I had to I'd say 'Wicked Fields of Calm', 'A Veil is Lifted' and 'All Tongues Toward'.