Fall Of Leviathan – In Waves

Fall Of Leviathan – In Waves
Vitruve Records
Release Date: 01/03/24
Running Time: 54:10
Review by Dark Juan

Dark Juan is not a man normally given to introspection, mainly because I am too fucking busy all the time. If I am not doing college work, I am at work. If I am not at work, I am normally furiously writing so Metal Mum Beth Morait doesn’t have to threaten the writing staff with putting them through a bacon slicer feet first unless they, you know, write some fucking content so we can bring to you, the dear readers, the very best in underground international sounds. 

However, there are times, like the past week I have had off work, where introspection is all I have had as I have been too ill to actually go anywhere, apart from Otley yesterday, where I bought some grey jogging pants, specifically for the reason that they are meant to recreate the effect that lingerie has on discerning (and some not so discerning) gentlemen for the ladies. Perhaps the female readership can report back to me whether this is the case, and whether the bulge in the trouser region does anything for them. Assuming that the ladies in question are heterosexual, of course.

Experimentation is the fuel of knowledge, after all.

As we are feeling somewhat intrepid this afternoon, the waterproofed, freshly painted (in Cunard colours, of course) Platter of Splatter™ has been called into service, this time to spin the sounds of a Swiss quintet called Fall Of Leviathan. All their musical compositions are ocean-based, it seems, and this has amused Dark Juan because Switzerland is famously landlocked and basically built around some mountains and there is not any sea near them. Lake Lucerne must suffice for them. However, the Swiss do in fact have a small Navy, subordinate to the army, on lakes where they have international borders.

See, you don’t just come here to be entertained, do you? With Dark Juan you LEARN stuff. Like for example, when Dark Juan Googled “Swiss Navy” to make sure he was correct about the Swiss having one, we discovered that there is also a silicone based anal lubricant called “Swiss Navy”. That will teach me to Google so blithely. Quite reasonably priced, though…

Enough nonsense! 

This five-track record opens with ‘Nantucket’, and it is a dreamy, softly rocking start to the album, all dreamy wandering and going where the tide takes you. It is an ethereal experience and not at all what you would expect from a band with a name like Fall Of Leviathan. However, they redeem their name somewhat after a couple of minutes of scene-setting wispiness, and absolutely slam into the consciousness of the listener with some stupendously heavy guitar. The piece continues in this vein, with alternating light and dark, corresponding with calm seas or storms, depending on what your imagination is picturing while you listen. 

Fall Of Leviathan play a style of music that is both Post-Rock and Post-Metal. Doom and Sludge form only a part of their sound, which owes as much to the likes of Mogwai as it does to Crowbar and Neurosis. In fact, Dark Juan can easily imagine Fall Of Leviathan and Neurosis swapping a song or two, being as they are both bands who favour world-building and emotive delivery in their music as much as out-and-out devastating howling. The thing is, the lighter, more ethereal passages in the music increase the total shock the listener experiences when the heaviness comes. ‘Pacific’ is a perfect example of this, being some nine minutes of slowly building thunderheads and storms until a musical weather front of Biblical proportions slams into the brainspace of the listener and plasters them against the wall of the bridge of the good ship Metaphor and the music plays out in a slow, grinding inexorable thunderstorm of sound. Fall Of Leviathan prove that atmospherics can be even heavier than barking and howling political stuff at 700 miles an hour. ‘Pacific’ forms the centrepiece of the album, being a 13-minute epic of brooding menace and heartrending emotion.

Slow tempos and more dreamy, gently chiming guitar work start the proceedings on ‘Spermwhale’, the sound of the music deceptively simple at the start of the piece (Fall Of Leviathan are an instrumental band, so no egos need to be stroked) until once more the band kick the Superfuzz Big Muffs into action and the heaviness flows right over and through you, a Droning lead line on the guitar dragging the music back towards simplicity and gentleness.

All in all, it is fair to say that Dark Juan is enjoying this record – it is complicated and interesting without having to resort to silly tricks and for-the-sake-of-it complexity and palindromic music silliness in the manner of Tool. The Doom and Drone elements of the music add the depth of the Marianas Trench to the sound and although the tunes don’t hold any great surprises as to where they are going to go next, their existential misery fits most nicely with the misanthropic world view of Dark Juan, their music easily conveying the vastness of cold, uncaring oceans without end and the fact that you are dependent on a fairly fragile vessel of steel for your survival, and the fact that the ocean could swallow you whole and not leaven even bones. However, it also manages to convey the fact that oceans are colossal cradles of life and vitality beneath the surface, but it is not the realm of man down there, and man simply does not belong in the embrace of Poseidon. Hence large and expensive machinery in order to explore it. 

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan pour mes amis suisses qui parlent français, or das patentierte Dark Juan-Blutspritzer-Bewertungssystem für unsere deutschsprachigen Schweizer Freunde. Entschuldigung, aber ich kann kein Schweizerdeutsch, or il sistema brevettato di classificazione degli schizzi di sangue Dark Juan anche per gli svizzeri di lingua italiana. So che ce ne sono alcuni!) awards Fall Of Leviathan 8/10 for a record that Dark Juan found intriguing and interesting. Marks were removed because the band are an instrumental band and Dark Juan feels that this might limit the audience somewhat, and because, apart from the stupendously heavy bits, a less exploratory listener might find the quiet periods of music too lightweight.

Addendum: Nothing to do with the review but I thought it was curious that the music player I use on my computer felt it necessary to show me a picture of Matt Heafy and Trivium when I was playing “In Waves”. I have no idea why it did this but it did provoke a wry grin.

01. Nantucket
02. In Waves
03. Pacific
04. Spermwhale
05. Red Bay
06. Ahkab

Emma Richon – Drums
David Seuret – Bass
Loïc Fleury – Synthesizers
Régis Mérillat – Guitars
Marc Wattenhofer – Guitars


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.