Monday, 28 October 2019

Men with Mallets - Leviathan.

Men with Mallets – Leviathan. Sonic Entrails. CD. 2019. 

Track list.
1.    The Eyelids of the Morning.
2.    The boiling Deep.
3.    200 Miles Long.
4.    You Will Hear the Call.
5.    Seven Spheres of the Archon.
6.    Break the Head into.
7.    Chaoskampf.
8.    Wreathed. Twisted into Folds.
9.    The Missing One.
10. About Her Shadowy Sides.
11. Swallowed at The End of Time.

My introduction to Sonic Entrails was an odd one, John E smoke contacted the blog about his releases on the label. After chatting, it turns out we were both going to see Tunnels of Ah in Birmingham, so we arranged to meet up there and give me the CDs. We met up and he gave me Leviathan and a Mannequin Factory album to review. John puts on gigs in Dudley, makes music via different projects and runs the Sonic Entrails label. It also turns out that I’d previously reviewed his Flesh-Eating Foundation project in my older reviewing days many years ago. Babyland were also covered on that album, thus I was also introduced to Babyland for which I am eternally grateful. Meeting up was way better than the usual anonymous brown envelope through the letterbox.

Leviathan is the first Men with Mallets release, John Shapter and John E Smoke are behind the project.  Leviathan uses singing bowls, gongs and chimes – these are recorded acoustically and with contact mics. Sounds were then processed to become the tracks on this album, which is the first part of a trilogy about the mythological water beast Leviathan.

The drones are used to the effect of Wartime air sirens as if to create an urgency to the album’s opening track. The subtle interactions and play offs between the sounds form slow, sonic conversations across the length of Leviathan. At times the work is atmospheric and suspenseful as the drones really pulsate and contact mic sounds scrape across the sounds. The depth of sound across the album is deep, the noise factor comes through in the intense volume that some of the sounds are pushed to, so that they distort but this still ties in well with the overall sound as the slow pace is constantly adhered to.

As an album everything ties in well together, it’s been mastered well, and the selection of tracks doesn’t affect the flow of the album. There are subtle variations in the use of gongs, chimes and singing bowls with different samples and sounds apparent on different tracks keeping the range varied so things don’t get boring. The frequent rises in sound levels make Leviathan challenging as it immerses itself in some very deep atmospheres. This is a strong album and one of my highlights of 2019.

Nevis Kretini 2019.

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