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Leviathan: Mischief of Malcontent

Mischief of Malcontent is the 8th full length studio album by American progressive metal band Leviathan, and the first without their long-time bassist Derek Blake since the band’s debut Deepest Secrets Beneath (1994), and third studio album with Brazilian metal singer Raphael Gazal. The rest of the lineup for their latest output is Kyle Abbott on drums, John Sellers on guitars and cello, and founder member and main composer John Lutzow on guitars, keyboards, bass and backing vocals.

I’ll assume my contrarian role in saying that I like what Raphael brings to the band with his voice, and quite enjoy his less operatic and more powerful performance, despite the minuscule accent, to my ears he sounds like a mix between Tobias Forge (Ghost) and Ágústsson (The Vintage Caravan). Parallel to the obvious change in the vocals, Lutzow finds himself bringing his song crafting to more commercial and accessible territories, and I think that new approach will return a solid harvest soon, a well-deserved one.

The album is just over 40 minutes of total length (lessons learned?) and is a collection of 5 strong songs, some more than others, but a solid record overall. My favorite tracks are the two longest ones, “Rorschach Test” and “The World is Watching”, being the later the hook that kept me interested in relistening. “Unfriendly to Humans” is a great opener with fast drumming and heavy metallic riffing, nothing too memorable but quite enjoyable. “Dark Side Down” kicks off in a more dark and sludgy mood, with narrative style vocals that overlap with the steady rhythm showing some melodic hooks, later enhanced by brief but cool twin guitar soloing. “Rorschach Test” is a little more complex, a pure heavy rock song that mostly relies on the different (and less orthodox) time signatures conquered by the rhythmic section and the powerful vocals. Lutzow is a very good composer as he is a guitar player, but somehow his creations fall a little short from greatness, leaving that odd feeling like there’s something missing or not quite there. The guitar work on “Semblance of Self” is great and enchanting, however the vocal melodies get a little too poppy and off sounding on top of the powerful music layout, still one of the strongest moments of the album and one of the best lyrics too. “The World is Watching” is my favorite song, love the cello and guitar harmonies entrance as well as the well-designed drumming, perhaps a couple of minutes too long but never overwhelming, and with an awkward sounding outro that somehow still works and leaves the listener wanting more. A step forward from their previous work.

Track Listing:
1) Unfriendly to Humans (6:17)
2) Dark Side Down (4:50)
3) Rorschach Test (8:29)
4) Semblance of Self (6:53)
5) The World is Watching (13:18)

Added: August 19th 2022
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 536
Language: english

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