Black Metal Wednesday: Leviathan’s ‘Scar Sighted’

Leviathan drops one of the fiercest and merciless black metal projects in recent memory

Profound Lore Records

Profound Lore Records

Disclaimer: The attitudes of the music which is about to be described can be disturbing and offensive to those of certain faiths. Due to the views and actions of many popular black metal musicians, the music can often reflect certain themes that would not sit well with some individuals. This article does not reflect the views of The Howler as a whole. 

Over here on the A&E section of the MHS Howler website, we try to cover music from a wide range of styles and genres. However, most of that coverage falls within the indie-rock and pop zone, missing an entire world of music that’s to be passed on and enjoyed. So, without further a do, I present a new segment over at The Howler that’s so extreme you better sit back in your seat.



Yes, coverage of your favorite music to throw down to and play in the background while attempting to seduce a date is here! So lace up your shoes, rip open some pillows, and bow down to your Pagan altars, because you’ve entered the unsparing world of black metal.

For those not familiar with this fierce subgenre of metal, Wikipedia defines it as:

“…an extreme subgenre and subculture of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, a shrieking vocal style, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, raw (lo-fi) recording, unconventional song structures and an emphasis on atmosphere. Artists often appear in corpse paint and adopt pseudonyms.”

Black metal began in the 1980s as a mere prototype of early thrash and death metal groups, and the genre really stepped into it’s form when it exploded in Norway with the help of bands like Darkthrone, Burzum, Mayhem, and Emperor. The standards for the genre were set with this second wave of bands, and from there it developed independently throughout it’s subculture throughout the world.

Black metal pioneers Darkthrone.

For the first black metal review, we will be covering LEVIATHAN’s new LP Scar Sighted. LEVIATHAN is a renowned American black metal project that first tainted the sky in 1998 when Jef Whitehead, a member of the American black-metal supergroup Twilight, began the project entirely on his own. Whitehead plays every instrument on the band’s releases, delivering the growling fury of a thousand angry warlords with only his two hands. On his records, Jef has always been able to deliver an exceptionally unique and innovative take on the genre; the fact that he’s doing it all on his own only making it more unprecedented.

While Leviathan’s last LP True Traitor, True Whore was inspired by sharp allegations aimed at him in his last relationship, Scar Sighted aims for the bulls-eye of what’s held nearest and dearest to black metal: the dark, ragged, and gory abyss where minions crawl out of bleak, dripping crevices and feast upon the souls of the unwary!


 Scar Sighted is an absolutely massive LP: Many songs reach nearly eight minutes in length, and Whitehead wastes no time whatsoever as he feeds on shadowy ambiance, furiously brooding vocals, and raging, merciless instrumentation to spawn what is easily one of the best black metal projects of the year. After the doom-suggesting untitled intro settles in, the first song “The Smoke Of Their Torment” explodes into frame with cold and barbarous guitars played over an especially savage voice. “You shall have all nations in derision/Becoming the catalyst of indignation/March towards wicked transformations/Slither from mine pallet that I might maintain your living ash”, Whitehead growls, immediately asserting pitch-black, bleak charisma. The song is scattered with haunting, distant voiceovers that are schizophrenic in essence, and the feeling that follows is chilling.

What really stands out about Scar Sighted is it’s constant drive to experiment and defy the limits of black metal. At most times, the songs come closer to a sinister concoction of doom and death metal with black metal watching from a cryptic distance through a dark haze of ambiance. However, the record is not only stylistically vast. Leviathan draws from a bludgeoning arsenal of instrumentation and vocal deliveries to create a dense yet expansive aesthetic that seems infinitely deep to even a trained ear.

“Within Thrall” opens with what sounds like a contorted choir from one of the deeper levels of Dante’s Inferno chanting “The death of the gloaming”, only to serve as an introduction for one of the fiercest episodes of guitar tearing on the entire LP. Unique moments like this one course throughout Scar Sighted‘s veins, whether it’s the frightening marching and banging which introduces “Gardens of Coprolite”, or the ominously enunciated lead into “All Tongues Toward.”

Leviathan has managed to put forth an experimentally dense, monumental, and poisonously delivered album that wears complexity one it’s sleeve without an ounce of hesitance; you can’t possibly run from this record’s absolutely relentless ferocity that Leviathan spits brutally from the first song to the last. This is without a doubt one of my favorite records to drop this year, and the nightmares it’s going to give me aren’t even a notable problem due to it’s utter complexity and black-hearted radiance.

Leviathan’s Scar Sighted scores…


You can stream and purchase Scar Sighted over at Leviathan’s Bandcamp.