Sleeping giant - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #26

I got sent an EP to review by a band called Mage. Listened to it once hurriedly while doing other things. In summary, it’s okay I guess if you like your music samey, bland and unchallenging. I spent all of the time I should have spent listening to it getting psyched about finding more Megaton Leviathan. A trawl through Julian Cope’s latest psychic regurgitations turned up this band, Megaton Leviathan. I downloaded their self titled album and I’m hooked. Their discography is diverse and hard to find, a lot of overlapping song titles, their 2011 release seemingly only available on tape and limited to 200 copies. It seems like sorting through Grateful Dead or Les Rallizes Dénudés discography. Julian Cope likes them, that was my first interest light flicked fully on, my second was when I noted they hailed from Oregon, the American state that is famous for being the setting of Kesey’s epic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and the stomping ground of metal magnificence purveyors Agalloch. When I listened, I got more than excited, I was so totally psyched. Their self titled album plays like early Monster Magnet given a school in song construction, the blessed out stoner soundscapes are there, but without all of the frankly tedious interludes and replaced with Pass It On-era Carlton Melton-on-speed riffage that really really cooks.

This record came to us astride a silvery chariot and as soon as we put it on we knew it was special. Everything dissolves around it. It’s pure acid sound, down to the roots. It weaves time-stopping sludge fests, a crashing new heaviness coming down every few minutes like freshly heavy rain. What previously had been the heaviest riff in the world pales in comparison to whatever new cacophony they’ve created. It’s truly incredible, thudding and uncompromising noise along the lines of the stuff Bardo Pond were chucking out before they lost their edge. Pumping, plodding like Godzilla metal riffs that move just fast enough to be catchy while still carrying enough weight as a speeding meteor. Playing like a hepped-up Carlton Melton after being unfeelingly strapped to a chair and subjected to eight repetitions of each of the first four Sabbath monoliths, each of their eyes wide and yet dull, fingers thrumming rhythmically at the strings with complete control but no real understanding, the sludge oozing purposefully out of the speakers and over the drowning audience just as ambivalent as they are, unstoppable. They’ve created the Blob!

Over this sonic titan rises the spectral form of sea bird vocals, drifting over the powerful throbbing distortion jet engine. They are distant and indecipherable. Sailing over black hills and ragged waves of distortion beating on the eardrums of the shore down below. The effect is of being slapped in both ears simultaneously. A shattering debut. Disorienting, is this an art record? Is it a hard-rocking new-age masterpiece that blends the sixties with the nineties underground metal scene? Beauty masked by noise, dissonant racket of the holiest order. And it cooks.

There isn’t a lot to be said about Megaton Leviathan. If they could’ve expressed what this all means in words, they wouldn’t have needed to create one of the best underground metal albums of the last few years. Find it (no easy task), listen to it (very easy, it flows and ebbs like a stream) and come back here and tell me you loved it as much as I did.

Written under duress by Steven

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend and I live in the same neighborhood as them. And on one drunk stumble home from the max, we could hear them playing a house show in a basement, scored some free cds and have been hooked sense. We have always been fans of the stoner/doom scene, and I think they are right up there with bands like earth, and i'm proud to have them representing the hood.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to lock Andrew Costa in a proper studio for 6 months, slipping food in through the door crack.

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