[25th January 2013]
[Bret Hard Records]
The Aeons Torn
01. The Crescent Moon
02. The Rising Darkness
03. The Sacred Fire
04. The Restless Wind
From The Desolate Inside EP
06. Towards The Storm
07. When Only Despair Remains
08. Last Laugh At My Existence
09. A Symphony For No Tomorrow
As we move into 2013, it seems the concept of an album is being bent even further from its original idea. While we’ve already had many an album with short runtimes, how many albums can you name that are actually 2 EP-length bodies (30 and 25 minutes respectively) of music stuck together? Well, German proggy melodeathsters Leviathan are set to unleash their second “album”, entitled The Aeons Torn – Beyond The Gates Of Imagination Pt. 2 (following a concept album series), with their remastered début demo From The Desolate Inside to make up a 50-minute caper with a decidedly Scandinavian flavor.
Second track “The Rising Darkness” is a perfect example of the band’s sound, both past and present. Reminiscent of the bombastic melodeath of Kalmah and Wintersun, with soaring guitar melodies and plenty of atmospheric synth, the track shares commonalities with the début album while also introducing new elements into the songwriting, including a sense of short-attention-span jumps between tempo and style. The song hits a powerful blasting speed for a strong climax, but abruptly drops into synth-enhanced piano for the rest of the song, in a jarring juxtaposition to the earlier metallic sound. Other songs demonstrate a similar short attention span, such as “The Sacred Fire”, which begins with lo-fi medieval-influenced acoustic guitars and tribal drumming, before a decidedly flamenco feel (akin to the Just Cause videogame OST) erupts into the high-speed melodeath we all know and love.
However, chief among Leviathan’s changes are found in the throat of Jonas Reisenauer, whose harsh shrieks have intensified in volume. Growls have become even more vicious, and his singing styles differ on every song of the album. From a baritone-stance on opener “The Crescent Moon” to a higher pitch and folkier touch on “The Restless Wind” – a personal favorite – he showcases more of his voice than on either the demo or full-length début. The lyrics, regrettably, are challenging to determine in the vocals, so I cannot say much about the concept behind the two albums, but rest assured the vocals are well-suited to the madcap music.
Speaking of the music, The Aeons Torn is a challenge to follow, chock full of riffs and melody to keep the guitarist fans happy, and plenty of piano or keyboard moments for those more ivory-inclined. These two instruments usually take center-stage, trading with each other in grandiose fashion on every track, except for the finale, “Elysium”. This track, deceptively disguised as a virtuoso acoustic track with raw and fragile singing for the most part, bursts unexpectedly in the final minute into a cacophony, a guitar-infested metal overload complete with choir and keyboards. Erratic, to say the least!
Meanwhile, the four tracks that make up the demo are on much more familiar turf. The slightly thrashy “Towards The Storm” reminds us of the band’s past style, one that stuck closely to its melodeath and folk-metal influences (Wintersun, Children Of Bodom & Disillusion), but doesn’t sound dated in the slightest. The guitar work in particular is top-notch, with ripping solos and riffs aplenty to be expected (see “When Only Despair Remains”). The songwriting betters The Aeons Torn‘s in one defining factor: it’s more coherent, and the progression through various styles feels more natural than the latter’s abrupt dips and dives. The production is a little rough around the edges, rather like Reisenauer’s vocals, making it clear that this is a demo; however, despite that downside, one can hardly complain at the inclusion of 25 minutes of great material.
All in all, the band have shown an interesting twist in their approach with The Aeons Torn, bringing out the eccentric side of prog in the melodeath, while reminding people strongly of their roots in From The Desolate Inside. This progress can be even more easily chartered, as Leviathan have also re-released their début full-length Beyond The Gates Of Imagination Pt. 1. Those with a strong interest in folky-melodeath would do well to give this band a shot, particularly while the whole discography is up for grabs.