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A new twist smothered in the same old darkness - 98%

Serenityinaz12, March 17th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, Digital, Profound Lore Records (Bandcamp)

Wrest originally said he was done with Leviathan, then he came back with True Traitor True Whore, which many considered to be his weakest full length release up to that point. While that of course is debatable, one thing is sure - there was a buzz about this release and whether or not Leviathan would see a universally agreed upon return to prominence or a further plummet from his earlier works that are held in such high esteem. Luckily for the music community and especially fans of black metal, Wrest said to hell with your expectations and delivered an absolutely crushing CD that not only would quality as a "return to form" but also dabbles in a lot of new things.

The first thing that people are going to notice without a doubt is the death metal influence which hits you in the face right away after the atmospheric intro. As opposed to having a typical Leviathan style in the first part of the CD and getting into some experimental stuff later, he just blasts you in the face with it instantly. The first 2 tracks, The Smoke of Their Torment and Dawn Vibration seem to be the most death metallish on the CD, but it also incorporates some sound that will make you think of Deathspell Omega and such. Damn good songs even though they aren't typical Leviathan in nature. And even with the change in pace on these songs you still get the typical Leviathan pace changes and atmospheric interludes in the songs.

From this point going forward the release goes deeper and deeper into blackness and typical Leviathan. While there are still the occasional cookie monsterish death metal vocal parts that come up occasionally, it is mostly limited to the first couple tracks. The rest of the CD sees a consistent descent into more and more tortured raspy vocals, crushing depressive atmospheres, and just an overall blackness that feels like it's going to suck your soul away from you. Any longtime fan that may listen to the first few tracks and be put off by their different style need not fret, you will get your fill of soul crushing torture and evil.

As is typical with Leviathan, the layers are endless and you will notice new things for a long time as you listen to the songs over and over. And how many times do I need to say this - the atmosphere on this release is palpable and soul destroying.

While I'm hesitant in saying this is Leviathan's best release, I can say with confidence that, at least in this reviewer's opinion, there isn't a throw away track on the release. Some people may see it lazy that track 5 (Wicked Fields of Calm) is a redo of his song Pondering the Wealth of the Stars from The Speed of Darkness EP, but that song was so damn good and likely unheard by many anyway it's hard to fault Jeff for adding it. For me it's hard to pick a best track on this release since it's so solid overall - but if I had to the title track Scar Sighted would be it. So dark, so black, so crushing in it's pain and torture.

This is easily AOTY material, and hopefully the start of another onslaught of new music from Leviathan. If all of his future work is going to be the quality of this release, damn we've got a lot to look forward to.