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USBM finests - 93%

Jaxel, July 20th, 2006

*Note: Im reviewing the release with no bonus tracks*

Ok so i'm a Xasthur fanboy, really i am, i own everything the guy has put out, except 3 splits i'm missing (with Orosius, Acid Enema, and Nachtmystium). I really can see the whole vibe expressed on every album, and in all honesty i dont know what attracts me so much to Maleficus's creations. The truth is, this is my favorite band actually, not of black metal, i mean in all genres.

I also possessed, like 8 releases of Leviathan, mostly demo after demo, my favorite being Shadow Of No Light and Howl Mockery At The Cross. Wrest is a solid creator, I enjoy Lurker Of Chalice for example (his other band), but Leviathan, has such an enormous catalog that is easy for me to see, all the wrong steps, and the over releasing of albums. I mean, is this Burzum inspired releasing? He has average 4 releases in more than 3 years. That is actually either having no life, or just being abusive creative with your time. In any case, im not such a Leviathan freak, unlike with Xasthur.

As i really have a hard time finding great split albums, merely because always one band slashes the other into pieces, i do think this is the best split i have ever heard, with the like of that obscure Gorgoroth/Burzum split or the infamous Immortal/Ulver split. Now on to the song description:

Leviathan | Unfailling Fall Into Naught | - The main riff of this song, gives you a sense of melancholic, its the best riff in the whole album. The drumming is mid tempo, this song is quite long and dronning, you really have to try it over and over till it consumes you. At the 7 minute mark, we get the ambient outro, is it me, or this is what you must do lately with all depressive black metal releases? Meh, in any case, its quite good and really gives the song the desolate description, pretty much needed to totally feel "there".

Leviathan | The Remotest Cipher (Beside The Last Breath Banished) | - This is another mid tempoish song, what its quite interesting about this song, its how at the beggining the main riff is played in guitar, and then, little by little, switches into a beautiful piano lead, it is quite captivating, then it sort of switches back to guitar after a while, truly magnificent, out of the 2 songs from Leviathan, this has to be the best of them. The outro is simply a riff repeated over and over, but it works very well. I dont remember hearing such great songs from Leviathan, the drumming is very simplistic but it fits, and very different from other Wrest releases were the drumming is more complicated or trashy.

Xasthur | The Eerie Bliss And Torture (Of Solitude) | - What a fucking creepy keyboard we get starting this song, it is slow tempo the song, and those fucking vocals, they truly reflect only one word: Terror. My only complain of this song, its the fact that the cymbals are used non stop except like at the 4 minute, and maybe i believe they should have been stopped for a bit more, since it seems overused, but hey, its an artistic feel to do whatever the hell you feel like doing with some drum machine, so i'll take it as it is, and shut the fuck up. The eerie (pun intended) keyboard, continues, changing from rhythm like twice during the song, until it reaches a guitar plus vocals part, and thus the song ends.

Xasthur | Keeper of Sharpen Blades (And Ominous Fates) | - This song has quite a different production from the previous track of Xasthur. It really does sound like A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors, the song, with some different keyboards here and there. And quite a different tempo, but the comparison, its just unavoidable, once you hear it. At the 2 minute mark we get the kick ass, semi acoustic guitar with vocals and drumming. I love thoses weird guitar parts like the 3:50 moment of this song, where it all kind of goes even creepier, for Xasthur standards nowadays.

Xasthur | Conjuration Of Terror | - Finally some blasting, we get the fastest track of the bunch, ironically, the last "track" since the next one its an instrumental. Its blasting, then a mid tempo sort of breather part. Then more blasting, the production of the drum, is sort of annoying if you have a lot of treble, but oh well. At the 5 minute mark, it gets more calm, like the songs before. Its like the start of the outro of the song, i really do enjoy it.

Xasthur | Instrumental | - What?! an outro thats not only keyboards from Xasthur?! this is totally unexpected, in all seriousness, it was for me, this is simply some kick ass riff, on top of some decent drumming parts and the treble tv distortion we always love, that its present troughout the whole album obviously. It is not what i expected for an outro, considering Xasthur's past work. But it is quite good, its a more calmer feeling towards the end, even though the drumming is blasting.

Leviathan's side really inspired me to look for more of his releases, since this is truly a great side. Xasthur's side, its simply quite good and not sounding that rehash. It is quite difficult to rate, but i must say if we split the album in a 50/50
for each band, Leviathan gets the perfect score, and Xasthur gets a minus 7 for some slight details like the unexpected outro, the change of production between songs, so on, so forth. In conclusion, this is honestly just more material for those freaks of the bands and a perfect starting place for any Black Metal curious.