The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide
In an attempt to go into the darkest reaches of the human mind, and find the deepest and most vile things about the human psyche, Leviathan created this work, his first recording for the Seattle Washington based record label Moribund Cult. After creating many demo tapes and cds before this, he now focused his talents to create a crystalized formation of his music. The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide succeeds quite well in this, it is a grim and excessively cold recording, bringing to mind the records of bands like Shining and Mutillation. The music contained on here is very sub-conscious, it works its way into your brain, feeding off the darkness there. The hypnotic beating of the drums, and the strange ambience surrounding all elements of the recording highten this effect, as does the effectively distant production. Wrest has stated that he desires to create one main thing within black metal; a wall of sound, and on this album we find shimmering crashing waves of sound descend, and then also the well placed use of silence or ambience to spook. Wrest is a master at dynamics.
Leviathan do indeed create a form of black metal that is progressive whilst also being very elite and true (and not traditionally (usually shitty) progressive with complex guitar wank-offs etc.). Wrest sees no boundaries, not breaking with the basics of black metal sound, but also bringing in aspects of other avant and experimental music styles, from the industrial of a band like Einsturzende Neubauten to the avant scare tactics of Sonic Youth's early years (though I know not if those bands are influences, they are sonically what comes to mind). Like I said, the basics of black metal are in place, Wrest does create black metal, and it is truly dark and menacing. Many "elite" people would dispute his music, perhaps because the music has gotten press, but I can't dispute with his power to frighten and to actually creep me out. Only a hand-ful of bands can do that.
Like I have said, the atmosphere of this album is very important. It is very crushing, very suffocating. No light is let into the music, no happy riffs, nothing but total and utter nihilistic despair. The only light contained on here is in embracing the negation of life, and giving into the perversions lying at the root of the music. Leviathan's later release Tentacles of Whorror is no where near as grim as this, whilst that brings to mind visions of underworld Chtonic creatures and existence, this album is nothing but despair and suicide. Listened to in the dark is can scare me, and also can put a chill feeling into my soul, and that is saying a lot.
A success all around, as is the follow-up. Leviathan is perhaps one of the best avant-black metal bands to grace the United States, at least in my (and many others) opinion.
II. Fucking Your Ghost in Chains of Ice
IV. The Bitter Emblem of Dissolve
V. Scenic Solitude and Leprosy
VI. He Whom Shadows Move Torwards
VIII. Mine Molten Armor
IX. The Idiot Sun
X. At the Door to the Tenth Sub Level of Suicide