A little over halfway through the month now. So far I’ve attempted to only cover black metal albums released this year, but in doing so I’m starting to lose my sanity and a little bit of love for the genre. There’s just so much mediocre to outright bad stuff being released and that bad stuff is what’s recommended foremost on sites like Bandcamp. Therefore, in an attempt to spice it up and retain what’s left of my sanity, I’ll be talking about some albums from previous years that I liked.
Scar Sighted, the 2015 release by one-man black metal band Leviathan is a depressing, nihilistic, blackpilled slab of black metal. There is no hope in this release. Even in the riffs on “The Smoke of Their Torment” you can hear the hopelessness, the anger, and the despair. The face behind the band, Jef Whitehead, did a phenomenal job expressing those grim emotions through music.
I’m such a sucker for riffs in my black metal. I find it so refreshing when so much being released today is “atmospheric” stuff that was done better by Agalloch and Ulver. And this album has riffs for days. The main riff on “Dawn Vibration” is fucking deadly. It’s depressing, it’s violent, it just kicks you right in the teeth and drags you into the depths with it.
There’s just so much torment going on in this record. I’m not sure what Whitehead went through prior to writing this, but it must have been some real shit because it comes through in spades on this. Not just musically, but his vocals are so tortured. He does the black metal gutturals you expect from the genre, which are mixed so low that the accompanying music almost overpowers them. But occasionally during an interlude he’ll let out what sounds like a scream of legitimate pain. It’s kind of cheesy, but get yourself in the right mindset and it’s pretty powerful. Very, very fitting for the songs they take place in.
I think my only qualm here, again, is that there’s just too much outside influence going on here. From drone, doom, death metal, even noise music, it all gets meshed together into something almost bastardized. It all fits, mind you, but I’m such a purest for black metal that it almost ruins it for me. Not to mention that mixing black metal with outside genres seems so overplayed at this point; a pure black metal release would be like the second coming of Christ.
Honestly though, I like this album. It’s by no means a classic, nor is it perfect. I certainly wouldn’t put it on if I’m in a happy mood, but if you want something modern that’s cold and grim but not kvlt, you can’t go wrong with this. Get yourself in the right mindset and it’s a worthwhile listen.
I give Scar Sighted a 3/5. Check it out on Bandcamp here.