Beholden To Nothing, Braver Since Then


I'm a little puzzled and quite destabilized by this much anticipated LEVIATHAN self-release (the first […]
By YngwieViking
February 17, 2014
Leviathan - Beholden To Nothing

I'm a little puzzled and quite destabilized by this much anticipated LEVIATHAN self-release (the first studio album in seventeen years), it holds many interesting elements such as a thick atmospherics flavors and a strong Prog spirit with some clever song structures and a challenging thematic aspect, the whole enhanced by an intellectual method or at least an high profile songwriting process, in fact, those parameters are displayed in a generous tendency and are even overshadowed by the superb interpretation of a very capable vocalist.

Obviously, the Jerry Ward's performance on tracks such as "Intrinsic Contentment" or "A Testament For Non-Believers" are by far the most interesting elements and the boldest asset of the whole recording, however I can't find yet the right way to fully enjoy it, each time that I try to go thru it, I'm quickly bored, disappointed, like if I missed something or if the arrangements aren't completed... That's indeed a strange sensation, to feel and experience this album, 75 minutes full of this thin sound and escaping without reaching its peak... It's like to be excluded of the action and watching the whole thing collapsing and sliding irremediably into a disintegration fate.

In fact, I believe that the very flat sound and the poor production is guilty for that sad phenomenon, in the numerous instrumental parts, the guitars and the drums tracks seems to be very far in the mix ("Empty Vessels Of Faith")... The cheap sounds of the orchestrations are also quite annoying... Maybe those technical issues and the lack of dynamic it's the reason for my disappointment ("Overture Of Exasperation" / "Beholden To Nothing, Braver Since Then").

The very laidback attitude could be a good approach for this kind of music (ARGUS with their "Beyond The Martyrs" in 2013 proved this, with a similar and valid manner) but this time it's the opposite , the absence of energy is prejudicial , it leads to the boredom and to the deficiency to rediscover once again, the glorious creative shining path of PSYCHOTIC WALTZ/HEIR APPARENT or QUIET ROOM (by coincidentally Jason Boudreau also from TYRANTS REIGN is playing some guest lead guitars on "A Testament For Non-Believers" while Chris Lasegue is shredding on "Empty Vessels Of Faith").

After a successful reformation, the studio comeback for this almost cult band is not a complete failure because the artistic gait is totally respectable, as well as the integrity of the players, and the honesty of this ambitious music is indisputable, unfortunately doomed to decay by a really low-end production.

7 / 10


"Beholden To Nothing, Braver Since Then" Track-listing:

1. Ephemeral Cathexis
2. A Shepherd's Work
3. Intrinsic Contentment
4. Overture of Exasperation
5. Creatures of Habit
6. Solitude Begets Ignorance
7. A Testament for Non-believers
8. If the Devil Doesn't Exist...
9. Magical Pills Provided
10. Thumbing Your Nose at Those Who Oppose
11. Empty Vessel of Faith
12. Words Borrowed Wings
13. Bettering Darklighter
14. Misanthrope Exhumed
15. Beholden to Nothing , Braver Since Then

Leviathan Lineup:

John Lutzow - Guitars / Keyboards / Vocals
Jeff Ward - Lead Vocals
Derek Blake - Bass / Percussion
Dave Rumbold - Drums
Trevor Helfer - Drums
Ronald Percival - Drums
Rachel Segal - Violin

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