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Howl Mockery At The Cross

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Album Review

Reams of demos hover in the shadows of Leviathan's legitimate studio material, but they're usually tagged with frustrating phrases like "out of print," "hard to find," or "check ebay." So Wrest throws the diehards a bone with Howl Mockery at the Cross. The follow-up to 2004's Tentacles of Whorror is a demo collection spanning all the way back to Leviathan's beginnings. The restlessness and exploratory nature of the outfit thrive in these tracks — this is still black metal through and through, but it takes frequent and exciting turns toward math rock, trad metal structure, and even broken melody. "Lycanthropus Rex" is a swirling mess of overdriven guitar and Wrest's anguished bleat; in the middle a wolf growls, and that's the cue for things to become baroque and moody like something out of Psychic TV's past. (Along similar lines Howl includes a Leviathan-styled cover of Death in June's "Nothing Changes.") Wrest's vocals seem to drive "Where Annihilation Dwells" — the reverb effect is grating, but his voice seems to pull the thick guitar static and faraway drums along. "Those Slimy Things" is shorter and more concise, its near-stoner metal main riff rumbling forth from the atonal intro as Wrest screams like an anarchic evangelist over a foggy midnight radio broadcast. Howl Mockery at the Cross is dark and arresting. But like almost everything Leviathan releases, it's also a surprisingly dynamic rush.

Biography

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s

Inspired by Scandinavian one-man black metal entrepreneurs like Bathory's Quorthon, Burzum's Count Grishnackh, and the ubiquitous Mortiis, San Francisco native Jef Whitehead adopted the nom de guerre Wrest in 1998 and soon began self-recording and releasing demos under the Leviathan heading. Within five years, these already numbered more than a dozen and were partly compiled on 2002's Verräter collection; but Leviathan continued to favor short-form demos, EPs, and split releases (with the likes of...
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Howl Mockery At The Cross, Leviathan
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