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Alan Averill

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Album Of The Month March 2006
Xasthur / Leviathan | ‘Split’

Xasthur, or more spacifically its single mastermind Malefic, is nothing if not prolific.

His regularity in making the world a less hospitable place has been matched only his surpassing bleakness in so doing, and the Xasthur name by this stage is a byword for quality, genuine, tenebrous extreme metal from the real underground.

The original release of this split with Leviathan was actually on limited edition vinyl, and has long since sold out and passed into lore.

Those who did get their hands on the original article are few in number, and if you have it already you’re either lying or, much more likely, a downloading sponge.

Therefore its full release on cd, with extra tracks to boot, is an extremely welcome happenstance, given that the original may be seen going for absurd amounts of money wherever one tries to pick it up.

Ownership of this gem is simply essential: Xasthur is here at its most diverse, with both darkly abstract and heartwrenchingly direct sides of Malefic’s personaliy given full rein.

His trademark warped, barely tuned, wiry plucking and fizzy sinews are at their most depressively affecting, while the pained howl that characterises all his work is as forlorn as ever.

Excellent tracks like ‘Communication of Terror’ do precisely that through this character’s at times awesome ability to evoke fear, coldness and mental degeneracy that surprisingly few in the genre can really touch.

Leviathan, though not as just as tremblingly crepuscular, acquit themselves with more than aplomb with their sound that was never a million miles away from Xasthur anyway, save perhaps a little more focus on length and development of theme.

This split however showcases them in their moment, with guitars that are fizzy yet full and melodies that hit the required minor note with the surety of one who knows they are beyond any form of redemptive grace whatsoever.

Whether through malicious speed or tortured middling paces, Xasthur’s ability to conjure absolute jet black loss means his work is simply imperative in the present moment.

Leviathan are more than a credit to this piece, but you know who this split is all about.

Get it.

4.8 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 04/03/06

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