Sapthuran / Leviathan Split

Poised to stand proudly alongside Southern Lord as the leading purveyors of top notch U.S. Black Metal, Battle Kommand unleashes a handful of tracks from two one-man projects: a relative unknown and an established powerhouse, and you better believe it smokes. First up, Sapthuran’s Patrick Hall displays a keen knowledge of his influences, most notably Ildjarn and Judas Iscariot, and while not treading any new ground, delivers a convincing barrage of hypnotically simplistic percussion and understated melody. Leviathan brings up the rear with a contribution nothing short of astounding. Offering a hell of a lot more range and memorability than his predecessor, Leviathan’s Wrest exceeds the quality of his recent split with Xasthur and slaps down a distinctive assemblage of thrash-y, emotional black metal with minute touches of doom and black ambient. Unlike much of the competition, Leviathan expands and progresses with each offering, including smaller-scale splits, and reinforces his place as one of the top three genre artists in the country. A worthy addition to the grimmest of record collections. (Magic Bullet)