Xasthur / Leviathan Xasthur / Leviathan

This split release couldn’t offer a better match up, bringing together two of America’s most intriguing contributors to the black metal underground. The Xasthur/Leviathan split first emerged from the sepulchral depths in 2004 on vinyl, but the CD reissue adds a few bonuses to the initial track listing, including a Katatonia and a Judas Iscariot cover. Funereal atmospheres reign supreme throughout most of the record (murky swells and dirge-y waves) and though it maintains its fuzzy darkness to the end, eruptions of melody and faster paced rhythms break out here and there to unsettle the near-comfort of the album’s enveloping textures — of the two parts, the Leviathan section is comparatively riff-reliant. While not the best driving music (it’s far too hypnotic and fatalistic), the record’s otherworldly ambience could support some sombre meditation or despondent wallowing or perhaps just some austere appreciation. (Labrador)