Sound — 8
Wrest has been creating solo music under the name Leviathan for more than 15 years, and over time his music has pushed the envelope of what constitutes black metal. While his sound has stayed consistently aggressive, he's delved more and more into noise and industrial music. The end result is oftentimes magnificent. "Scar Sighted" is Leviathan's first release in 4 years, and will be the fifth studio length release. The album is released by Profound Lore Records, and also on vinyl format via Wrest's label, Devout Records. While the album did not have any conventional singles, three of the tracks were released online for streaming before the album was available - "All Tongues Toward," "Within Thrall," and "Gardens of Coprolite." The album has 10 tracks and clocks in at over 74 minutes.
The album opens with a short instrumental peace, titled "-," which just works towards creating a suitable vibe for the album. "The Smoke of Their Torment" begins with a short spoken word line, and then devolves into some great noise metal at a slow to medium tempo, with some classic black metal style vocals. "Dawn Vibration" opens up with some of the more higher-pitched black metal vocals and is otherwise a very riff-driven track except for some drawn out tremolo picked parts. "Gardens of Coprolite" opens up with a dramatic bass and percussion part, but changes up quite a bit, using everything from clean vocals to the raunchiest black metal vocals and everything in-between. "Wicked Fields of Calm" is a reverb-laden screamfest with a relentless guitar and drum assault - one of the more aggressive songs on the album. The second half of the song brings in a piano or keyboard for melody, which helps the song have a sad undertone. "Within Thrall" has an acoustic opening with some cleaner layered vocals, but it quickly gets heavy with screamed and growled vocals, with a lot of interesting guitar work, and with the song coming up with a cool melody before the end of the track. "A Veil Is Lifted" has an interesting opening with distorted guitars droning and some other instrument picking out a melody before the percussion comes in, making the song oddly have a lot of groove for a black metal track - at least during certain passages. The title track, "Scar Sighted," is mainly carried by a recurring melody and croaking vocals. "All Tongues Toward" has a slow build-up with percussion and guitar, and builds to chaotically fast sections and other long periods of droning. The album closes out with "Aphonos," which opens with some heavily reverb'ed or delayed vocals, or possibly even ran through a tremolo effect. The track goes a lot of places in the almost 8 minutes that it runs on - there is monk chanting and subterranean sounds, there are some weird vocals with some odd processing playing over part of the track, there is heaviness and aggression and droning - all wrapped up in the same track, which does a great job of closing out the album.
Lyrics — 9
Wrest is interesting as a vocalist because he doesn't seem to have a specific technique or sound, but instead is very versatile and flexible in the way he uses his voice. This is definitely a bonus for me, as in black metal the sameness of the vocals is something that sometimes turns me off of bands, albums or songs. The lyrics, while they are morbidly dark, they are also very abstract for the most part, which is better than a lot of Wrest's contemporaries. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from "The Smoke of Their Torment": "Rejoice/ Flower of worms begets the sword/ shown the world of perfidy/ Rejoice/ Awakened now and unmerciful/ You shall have all nations in derision/ Becoming the catalyst of indignation/ March towards wicked transformations/ Slither from mine pallet/ that I might maintain your living ash/ Living ash/ Consume them with your fire/ Rejoice/ Flower of worms begets the sword/ shown the world of perfidy/ With poisoned arrows/ Consume them that they may not be/ Enveloping them with delicious suffering." I personally enjoy the lyrics and the vocals on the album quite a bit.
Overall Impression — 8
Wrest was arrested for a whole long list of charges a few years ago, including sexual assault and unlawful restraint, with Wrest releasing a Leviathan album about his ex-girlfriend and accuser called "True Traitor True Whore" later the same year. Before this went to trial most of the charges were dropped, or else he was found not guilty, and instead Wrest was only convicted of aggravated domestic battery and he was sentenced to probation. Since then, Wrest has done everything in his power to get Leviathan and his other projects back on track, and "Scar Sighted" is a strong effort in that direction. My favorite songs on the album are probably "Within Thrall" and the title track, "Scar Sighted." If this isn't Leviathan's best full-length release, it is definitely up near the top of the list.