Hailing from Bonn, Germany, Leviathan is a five-piece band that exemplifies almost everything I love about metal as an art form. From their skillful genre blending to their spectacular songwriting and instrumentation, Leviathan knows exactly what it takes to create an instant classic. Their debut album is called “Beyond The Gates Of Imagination Pt. 1” and from beginning to end, it is a aural triumph worthy of the utmost praise. You can buy the album here when it is officially released worldwide this September 16th of 2011.
It’s easy to tell that the band likes to experiment with their song structures in a way that manages to keep the listener engaged. They effortlessly deploy an arsenal of broken-chord arpeggios, explosive riffs, well timed change-ups, classical and folk elements, and ferocious vocals in order to create a sonic assault that is both exhilarating and inventive. Leviathan is thus one of the only bands within their class that I believe truly deserves the honor of being called Progressive. I can’t wait to hear “Pt. 2“!
As the title suggests, listening to the album feels akin to a surreal voyage through inner-space. The album’s structure intentionally evokes a three act play and demands that you listen to it all the way through for full effect. I recently had the honor of doing just that and this is what I envisioned…
…I opened my eyes only to discover that I had awoken to darkness. My body ached and my left side was numb. I tried to move, but I was unable to move my body due to some unseen restraints. I could hear nothing and I felt horribly claustrophobic. The air was dry and when I tried to cry out, my voice came only in hoarse whispers. Sweat trickled down my brow as panic began to set in.
Being unnaturally groggy, it took several minutes before it all sank in. My mind slowly flickered on like a fluorescent light-bulb that had seen better days and a blur of memories darted across my mind. I remembered the struggle that lasted for days, and how I was eventually subdued. I was also able to recall the experiments and the botched operation. I remembered almost everything; everything but the reasons why.
Then there was an excruciating, blinding light that flooded my vision. Then came the sound of a steel door opening, accompanied by the footsteps of several people entering the room. A man spoke to me; his soothing tone not matching his harsh words. “Why do you still resist us?” he asked. I tried to speak, but again the words would not come.
Fear and anger consumed me and I only glared back at my tormentor. “Defiant little bastard, aren’t you?” came his response. A needle pierced my skin, and within seconds I could feel the drug’s effects. My heart slowed, and in doing so it seemed to beat even harder. “Hook him up to the Machine. His dreams will tell us what his mouth refuses to.” I began to drift off as soon as I felt the electrodes being attached. Another injection and I was gone.
Almost immediately I found myself in another world unlike the most lucid dreams I had ever known. My surroundings seemed to be an amalgamation of every era and location imaginable. Tokugawa period Japanese houses were juxtaposed with early Medieval marketplaces. Elsewhere, a Maglev train drove straight through a Mayan city where floating pyramids loomed over the skyscrapers which sat near the ocean.
Before I could explore these bizarre surroundings though, I became acutely aware of a soldier’s voice shouting from behind me. And yet rather than flee, I was inexplicably compelled to stay and fight. Before the man could even fire his weapon his body had crumpled to the ground, his neck broken. Apparently I had killed him. “Poor fellow,” I thought to myself as I took his gun and made a break for it. I assumed there would be others.
I took an elevator to the top of the neon-lit Roman Coliseum nearby and peeked around a corner. There were two more men patrolling here, but this time I waited for them to turn their backs before slipping by in silence. It turns out they were guarding a wormhole of sorts. I reluctantly stepped through, my curiosity winning out against reason. I was either walking into a trap or embracing my only escape, and now it was too late to second guess my decision.
Out of the darkness came a blinding light that engulfed me once more. I have awakened in the real world, but with one crucial difference: I am no longer a captive. I have somehow freed myself from the Dream Machine to which I was a prisoner. The man who had interrogated me earlier was now crumpled to the ground, his neck broken. Apparently I had killed him. “Poor fellow,” I think to myself as I take his gun and make a break for it. This all feels oddly familiar.
I waste no time in making my exit. The facility is eerily silent except for the blaring sirens which seem to greet my escape. I still don’t know what they wanted from me or how I got where I am. All I know is that I won’t stop until I find some answers. Nobody will ever cage me again.