Colorado's Leviathan has more than a little cult status in the world of progressive metal. Formed in 1989, the band had an ambitious start, label status, yet eventually succumbed in 1998. But, it appears you can keep a good band down. Leviathan revived several years later, did a reunion show producing a live CD and DVD, and recorded their first new album in some 15 years. Now, the band returns another four years later with Beholden To Nothing, Braver Since Then.
One of the curious, and entertaining, things about the band is their odd album and song titles, like Ephemeral Cathexis, Solitude Begets Ignorance, Magical Pills Provided, Misanthrope Exhumed for example. Lacking the lyrics, and the weakness of the vocals, much is left to the imagination as to what the songs are about. We do know from the album page on the band's website that, conceptually, the album has something to do with religion. I don't think guitarist and lyricist John Lutzow likes it/them.
Otherwise, as usual, Lutzow and Leviathan create some rather creative and entertaining progressive metal, and there's a lot of it in 15 songs clocking in around 75 minutes. To say that Leviathan is unusually unique in their sound or approach is not necessary. The arrangements can be technical, but are not necessarily so. It's easy to follow along, finding the varied parts of song nicely intriguing yet blissfully enriching the whole. Good examples include Creatures of Habit and If the Devil Doesn't Exist, the latter offering mostly playful guitar work.
But that's seems to be the centerpiece of Beholden To Nothing, Braver Since Then, after all, Lutzow composed all the songs. Magical Pills Provided and Thumbing Your Nose at Those Who Oppose are only two examples, of many, where he shapes the entire song with electric and acoustic interpretations. The former song, to these ears, has the almost 70's psychedelic thread, mixed with jazz fusion, wrapped in progressive rock. Both songs are also examples of how Leviathan adds spoken word part throughout. Yo must turn up the volume to catch what's being said. Despite the fuzzy ambiguity of the album's theme, I'm sure the have some meaning within each song. My suggestion is to simply enjoy the music. Leviathan's Beholden To Nothing, Braver Since Then is ambitious, creative, and dramatically unpretentious progressive metal, while nearly epic in scope. Hopefully, Lutzow and company didn't completely drain the tank with this album, so we'll have more in the future. Easily recommended.
Leviathan's Beholden To Nothing, Braver Since Then is ambitious, creative, and dramatically unpretentious progressive metal, while nearly epic in scope.
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