Our pals at Invisible Oranges just posted “Contrary Pulse,” a track off the upcoming Leviathan album, and boy, is it creepy. It’s not like Wrest (Jef Whitehead) has ever been much for kittens and rainbows (after all, this is the man that brought you such delightful USBM gems as “Fucking Your Ghost in Chains of Ice” and “Requiem for a Turd World”), but with this, his hitherto unexpected new effort, he’s really upped the ante. True Traitor, True Whore (Profound Lore) is genuinely nasty. You’ll feel dirty listening to it, and not in a sexy way.

This is black metal for filthy dark alleyways, bad drugs, bloody noses, fever dreams and self-loathing. This is a very personal-sounding album — however much that has to do with the man’s recent legal troubles, I can’t say, but Wrest has clearly got a few bones to pick. Whereas the earlier albums were raw, cold, straight forward in a twisted sort of way — a modern primitive take on the blackened arts — this new joint is an entirely different beast. Leviathan has been howling mockery at the cross since 1998, with Wrest’s tortured compositions serving as a cornerstone of the American black metal underground and making it abundantly clear that not every USBM act needs to rip off Weakling to be a success. 2008’s Massive Conspiracy Against All Life was styled as the project’s epitaph, but three years later, Leviathan lives. On his latest album, Wrest’s stepped a bit further into the light, ditched the corpsepaint, changed up his sound, and, as always, come out with both middle fingers blazing

True Traitor, True Whore was conjured up in the belly of the same Chicago scene that spawned recent records from The Atlas Moth, Wolvhammer, and Nachtmystium, and studio wizard/resident space fox Sanford Parker had a heavy hand in the funeral proceedings. It sounds like the same fucked-up, spaced-out black acid trip vibes that ooze through those records have reared their ugly thousand-eyed heads on this one, too. Maybe it’s something in the water; maybe it’s something in the weed.  Swirling ambient noise and gossamer synth melodies, massive slabs of post-punk, droning, cyclical riffs, an ominous, unsettling atmosphere… it’s a far cry from The Tenth Sublevel of Suicide, but still close enough for government work. Most importantly, the the evil remains.

I still need to sit down and absorb the album as a whole, but this track offers a seductive taste of what may lie in wait. Go listen to it, and let us know what you think. Are you into the band’s new direction, or would you rather curl up with Verräter?


Kim Kelly (or Grim Kim, if we’re being formal) scribbles for a number of sweet metal publications (Terrorizer, Brooklyn Vegan, Invisible Oranges, Hails & Horns, and tons more), promotes wicked records with Catharsis PR, and road dogs for your favorite bands. Keep up with her exploits & numerous band recommendations on Twitter, or peep her blog Ravishing Grimness.

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