Thursday, December 18, 2014

Megaton Leviathan – Past 21 Beyond The Arctic Cell

Some artists, some performers, just have “it”.  That ability to take something that many other people are doing, but make it their own.  Put their own individual stamp on it.  That is exactly what Megaton Leviathan do with this release.  They bring us the doom, heavy as, well, a leviathan, but with their own unique twists to it.  This is music that you want to listen to over and over and lose yourself in what you hear.

Opening track “Past 21” is a great example.  The song starts out as cold and sparse as an arctic plain, white out in every direction.  You don't know where to turn, you don't know which direction to go, because everything is cold and white as far as the eye can see.  But as the music builds, there are some very cool psychedelic touches that come into earshot.  There is instrumentation that you don't necessarily expect to hear in this kind of track.  And you start to feel a little warmth, a little hope, that maybe this isn't as bleak as you first thought.

“The Foolish Man” is the next track up, and again brings us some unexpected sounds.  This time it is a sitar winding its way through the track and bringing all the far out associations of that instrument.  Another track that builds and builds.  I love the style of doom this band plays.  It gives me what I call “the nod”.  The music, the riffs are repetitive, there's a little bit of a drone going on under all the layers, and you can close your eyes and nod your head and explore the music in different ways.

There really isn't much conventional doom on this whole release.  Maybe the the last 3 minutes of “Arctic Cell”, when the band locks into a crushing, fuzzed out riff and rides it for all its worth through the end of the song, but that's about it.  The great curve ball comes on the 4th and final track, “Here Come The Tears”.  Sung it a clean style, lyrics very clearly pronounced, and a pretty straight forward, almost ballad arrangement.  Until about halfway through, when the doom drops like Thor's hammer.

This is a great release, full of unexpected things in all the right places.  It feels like a mountain of doom about to fall on you and crush you into insignificance, only to break apart at the last second and shower you with pebbles.  It's cold, it's warm, it's a little weird at times.  Best of all, it works all the time.


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