Formed in 2010 in Canberra, Australia, The Levitation Hex cite themselves as a retro-inspired death and thrash metal band. Citing influences along the classic prog and psychedelic style sound but delivered with the more metallic edge of the 80’s onwards for heavier music, the four piece say that they are a band who are not for people who already have preconceived notions of how music ‘should sound’. Seems like it could be interesting given my like for experimental approaches in music, but with the wide ranges of influences, particularly blending retro rock with thrash and death metal does seem a touch too experimental and ambitious. Anyway, let’s get on with it.
From the off, the retro influence in this album is clear in the bands rhythmic approach. That energetic pounding drumbeat which starts “Disrate” would presumably be followed by some thick and dirty fuzz laden guitars bringing forth gratuitous groove, but instead, a familiar sound, that of a low tuned guitar rips in instead with that ‘hollow’ chunk sound. Bordering more on deathy thrash than retro now, it has an interesting feel to it, like Fu Manch meeting Fear Factory in terms of sound and style with some classic rock vibes as an influence.
It doesn’t skimp on the volume either, whether it’s the loud and aggressive hardcore styled vocal growl and shouts or the epic backing samples adding depth, the intense sound of the guitar, bass and drums remains the same throughout the album. It has some strange djent like moments in tracks like “Energy Refund” and some less hammering moments in “Amygdala”, showing some melody, but the album doesn’t really spring to life until you hit track number five, “Sleeping Synapse”. With a massive, thunderous tone, fast pace and real intensity, it serves as a wakeup call, showing the thrash edge to the groove which has ran throughout the album. “Buried In A World” is gratuitous with its infectious groove and comes close to that retro rock influence the presser highlighted with the chugging rhythm and bouncy main riff, whilst “Hipokritikill” brings a slight progressive edge but that is all what really stands out.
Whilst the variety of influences and sounds brought forward do seem intriguing, in execution, the way they are brought together and delivered, it just doesn’t work that well. The hardcore styled vocals with the thrash and death metal sound works, but the retro-undercurrent goes totally the opposite way, sabotaging the sound. The grooves are good, but the delivery doesn’t match what you would expect, leading me to wonder what would have came from this album if the band opted for a more classic metal undercurrent instead of the retro styled approach cited earlier.
In all, It could be a lot better, “Cohesion” is rather misleading as a title given how it is anything but… But on the flip side, the irony of the title and the musical content did bring a slight smirk to my face. Ultimately, it’s nothing special.