Brighton’s finest death-tinged thrash band, King Leviathan, unleashed their sophomore EP The Shrine upon us in May last year – so I am a tad late to the party on this one, but I couldn’t resist reviewing their newest offering! With a rather unique sound, King Leviathan blend thrash and death metal expertly, and coupled with the heavy occult influence this makes for a very fun listen indeed. Taking the groundwork that was laid with their debut self-titled EP, King Leviathan have progressed their brand of sonic devastation into a new beast.
After a short, distorted spoken word intro, The Shrine kicks off with Wormwood. Opening with some very thrashy riffs and growled death metal vocals, Wormwood progresses to the cleanly sung chorus. The vocals here are totally on point: the death growls are utterly evil but still crystal clear, and the clean singing has an epic, NWOBHM feel to it. Throughout the track, the riffs are fast and heavy – just the way we like them – and a chaotic guitar solo towards the end of Wormwood commands your attention. Born of the Blackest Hearts has a much more melodic feel to it than its predecessor – the riffs are still thrashy, but they seem to have a touch more melody, and frontman Adam Sedgewick favours his powerful clean singing. The solo work here is fantastic and drowning in melody, and the few occasions Sedgewick breaks out his growls it contrasts the melodic tone perfectly.
Skin From Bone opens with a slow build up before the lead guitar commands your attention, and the thrashy riffing starts. As the growled vocals kick in, the music takes a bit of a black metal turn. Skin From Bone expertly combines the main three strains of extreme metal – death, black and thrash – making it possibly the heaviest track on the release. Around the two and a half minute mark, the riffs take a slow, atmospheric tone before another chaotic solo. Madness Made Divine has a brilliant and beautiful introduction that is, to be honest, too short lived. At the end of the atmospherics the vocals stand alone for the opening line, before some pure Bay Area riffing kicks in. The track is a fantastic example of how to write modern thrash metal, and to have it flirting expertly with its death metal brother. The drumming is, as always, tight, and the vocals mainly favour clean singing – but the well placed growls and screams add a lot to the track. Another exceptional, shred filled solo completes the track.
The EP closes with title track The Shrine, which is also the only track so far from the release to be given a music video. Starting strong and diving straight into the riffing and the death metal growls, The Shrine pulls absolutely no punches. It is a perfect combination of all of the elements King Leviathan use in their arsenal – it has extreme metal riffing, incredibly tight drumming, evil growls and soaring cleans, complete with shred filled solos and just enough melody to make this occult package accessible, but not so much to piss off the purists.
The Shrine is a must have release for any extreme metal fan who enjoys a touch of melody. King Leviathan are something a little bit different in the British metal scene – a huge occult influence mashing with extreme metal in all its forms, and enough melody to have you humming along, they are a rising talent that deserve to go far. I enjoyed their self-titled EP, but The Shrine is leagues ahead of their debut. I’m definitely excited to see what these guys come up with for a full-length.
3. Born of the Blackest Hearts
4. Skin From Bone
5. Madness Made Divine
6. The Shrine
31st May 2015
For fans of…
Onslaught, Reign of Fury, Forbidden