Crawl/Leviathan – Split (Review)

Crawl LeviathanCrawl play blackened doom, and Leviathan play black metal. Both are solo artists from the US and have got together to birth this hideous, reeking mass of unpleasantness.

This split lasts 24 minutes, with each artist contributing a single track lasting 12 minutes exactly.

Crawl’s song At the Forge of Hate breathes malignant hatred and seems to drag itself out of some unnameable abyss with a crawling malevolence; both the band and song are aptly named. This is 12 minutes of grimly atmospheric horror, textured with the screams of tortured lost souls and powered by the burning of the faithful. Nice, this is not.

Almost like a snapshot of a much longer song that could even span into decades of drawn-out misery and woe, this track is like a sample of a much larger work. Maybe it is, and the full thing is just too damaging and horrific to unleash in its entirety on the world. I could well believe it.

The track’s blackened doom/sludge is hideously effective and affecting. As alluded to above; I could imagine this drawn out to a monolithic 60-minute opus, and it would not lose any of its infernal power I’m sure, so engaging and darkly absorbing are the 12 minutes that we have here.

As my first introduction to Crawl, this has been harrowingly impressive.

Not many acts could follow this, but Leviathan is one of them. Although a very different monster from Crawl, I could use many similar words to describe Igneous Ashen Tears as I did for At the Forge of Hate, only with a different emphasis. Leviathan’s song is every bit as dark, claustrophobic, and nightmareish as Crawl’s is, but in a different way.

Igneous Ashen Tears owes much more to black metal than it does to doom or sludge, and its dark atmosphere has a harsher, more guitar-driven sound than Crawl’s sheer wall of despair. Igneous Ashen Tears has a generally faster pace too, but uses this to force you to confront the darkness that the artist is both exploring and exposing with his music. This track is a rotting epic, shrouded in disease and lethal auras, intent on pulling the listener into its bleak, damaged world.

Well, as splits go this is really one of the best I’ve subjected myself to in some time.

Dare you approach this?

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