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Leviathan - 90%

Vim_Fuego, August 7th, 2004

When I was a young fella’ struggling with the amazing wonders of modern Compact Disc technology, I once recorded an entire Iron Maiden album at half speed. While I was puzzled as to why a 40–minute album wouldn't fit onto one side of a 90–minute tape, I was highly impressed with the result. This release is more like the result of the same technological mishap, but recorded at quarter speed.

Mere adjectives are not enough to describe the power and magnificence contained within a mere five inches of plastic. Words like "glacial", "monolithic", "monumental", "primal" and "prehistoric" come to mind, but they are inadequate to describe the depth of feeling and emotion generated by the droning, throbbing tones contained within. And powerful it is. Slab after massive slab emanates from the speakers, building a metallic tower of Babel that crashes down over the listener in enormous chunks. The feeling generated must be similar to that of the medieval torture method called pressing — more and more weight stacked on the chest of a helpless heretic until either a confession is forthcoming or the collapse of both skeleton and internal organs under the increasing pressure brings sweet deathly relief.

There is simply no room in the sonic spectrum here for vocals, percussion, or anything but the simplest riffs. Occasionally, the guitars back off a sliver, and allow sparse use of samples, as in the track "Rabbit's Revenge", but otherwise, it's amplified oppression of the purest order. Extreme electronic music may have artists like Scorn and Lull who play slowly, and metal has had the likes of My Dying Bride and Winter, but this makes Winter's legendary "Into Darkness" seem like a high speed blast beat thrash fest.

This is the sound of tectonic plates grating each other as the continents inexorably shift in a timeless geological ballet as forces older than life inevitably grind to an apocalyptic conclusion. Listen to the volcanic rumblings within and lose yourself in the vast wastes of the universe.