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Forboding, Excellent, and Primal Beginnings. - 88%

WinterBliss, December 31st, 2008

Like The Blind Wound, The Speed of Darkness is a standalone release of the Iuvenes split. If nothing short of being a fantastic release, The Speed of Darkness serves as Wrest's first real recording and he shows it. Gone is the terrible, bedroom sound of his of demos, instead we are treated to a super dense, wall of bass-y sound that creates a powerful atmosphere.

Unlike the Ten Sub-Level of Suicide, The Speed of Darkness is hardly thin sounding, and is quite the opposite. There's a lot to pick out in each song, and it might be a harsh listen at first due to the very very dense production. That said, there's plenty of melody to be found, which has always been a hallmark of the Leviathan sound. "I Miss Watching You Die" ranks among one of the best Leviathan songs out there, and is probably worth this release alone. The subtle guitar melody and the haunting synth that pervades the track, which slowly develops amidst the wall of distorted bass and guitar leaves way for Wrest's tortured and almighty wails and his, as always, top-notch drumming. The album follows suit with a slower more spacey track, "Pondering The Wealth Of The Stars" (which is a profoundly nice song title, and fitting of the song). With this we get a slower paced song that really focuses on atmosphere and the harrowing vocals that sound more miserable than ever (even a ! huh a'la Tom G. Warrior, awesome).

In terms of Wrest's style, this ep shows a mixture between the more dense and keyboard driven songs ("I Miss Watching You Die" and "Your Army Awaits"), the more ambient and atmospheric tidings ("Pondering The Wealth Of The Stars" and "S.W.O.L") and his more aggressive songs ("Fossils Of Hope"). While "Pondering the Wealth of the Stars" is an amazing track, "S.W.O.L" is a complete throw away track, it's been consistent in Wrest's catalog of Demos, releases, and comps, and yet I tend to think it's one of his weaker and more boring efforts. It's a meandering, drone track of the same distorted high guitar notes picked over and over again while the drums trudge in the background and Wrest screams his distorted shrieks.

This ep is great, as with most of Leviathan's eps, but it does not compare to first two full lengths, The Blind Wound or Portrait in Scars. It also showcases Wrest's more simplistic composition style, which isn't bad, but isn't very surprising.
Regardless this ep is a very strong and moving piece. The main theme to "I Miss Watching You Die" as well as the break and that riff at 3:04 in "Fossils of Hope" are fantastic and make the ep worth the buy.

Essential to any Leviathan fan, extremely worthy of a listen to any black metal fan, and an overall great recording.