I have a question. Are we finally reaching the point in time where genres are pointless? I mean, sure classify something as Rock, Classical, Hip Hop, Jazz if you want but to break it down further is a little like listing ingredients when someone asked you what you had for dinner. I had mix of soy based product with wheat proteins and some durum based long things with tomato, chili , green peppers onions, a splash of red wine, some marmite, all spice, mixed herbs etc etc. It was vegan spag bol! Or it was just fucking lush!
How many adjectives can a PR drone or critically drone like myself, add to a list to describe a bands sound? It can go on for ever. It’s either good or it isn’t.
Megaton Leviathan from Portland are good. This is their third full length and on this one Andrew Reuscher and Mort Subite (who also produces) are joined by ex Lord Dying drummer Jonathan Reid, multi instrumentalist Travis Hathaway and vocalist and concert violinist Andrea Morgan. I note that Russ Kent of Noothgrush and Alaric lays down some guitars on here as well. Together this group of talented individuals have produced an enthralling , enchanting quintet of tracks that cross many tastes and boundaries.
Leaping in like a jump cut the open “Wave” is a lilting, dreamy lament filled with ethereal guitars and heavenly strings. The vocal line sits back in the throat, somewhere between Gregorian chant and Mongolian throat singing and the resonance offers a great foil for the strings. Beautiful melancholy like a maudlin Disintegration.
“Take the Fire” is a downer. In a good way. If you have seen the Ritual or Apostle then this could fit straight into either soundtrack. Music to sacrifice to. The electronics add gravitas and a modern twist to old world savagery.
The title track merges male and female vocals to great haunting effect . A Fields of the Nephillim riff cuts through the dry ice dragging synths with it. This track somehow feels like dusk and day break at the same time. A very cinematic experience. SO gothic without a hint of lace or patchouli.
“Belldog” takes a different approach. Synth heavy. Dark synth. Perturbator without the big beats. If you are a fan of S U R V I V E or Dance with the Dead (if not why not) then this is for you. Tinkling bells, 80’s guitar sound, dark pulsating synth bassline , Dave Gahan style vocals. A dark velvety drop of poison. There are places to lose yourself and look at your footwear if you require but also space to gaze skyward in anticipation.
Talking of gazing skyward “Within the Threshold” the 15 minute final track is cosmic trip back in time to the crazy days of Ozric Tentacles. Trippy synths from yesteryear merge with Kavinsky to create a drive through late night Tokyo in a pastel campervan. Then the purple acid kicks in and it all gets dark. Very dark. Like one of Gary Numan’s rape machines looms out of the distance. So what do our intrepid psychonauts do? Break out the acoustic guitar and Andrea’s amazing voice to shine a light to guide the listener home! Enchanting.
Megaton Leviathan are a collection of talented musicians who have become a band. That band have created 5 pieces of music that can help the listener transcend all the crap of the day to day, accept the melancholy and celebrate the wonder. It’s a trip with no side effects.
(8/10 Matt Mason)