Dawohl – Leviathan (Dolorem Records)

Friday, 29th April 2022
Rating: 8 / 10

Simmering slowly in the French scene, Dawohl began in 2009, releasing their first EP Potestas.Ratio.Iustitia in 2014 for Trendkill Records. Only vocalist Maxime Guillemain remains from those early days, as in the eight-year interim between recordings, they’ve gained two new guitarists and a drummer, signing to domestic label Dolorem Records to issue a full-length for Leviathan. Portraying an amoral dystopia where individuals shaped in their flesh as well minds serve purposes of a higher entity: the State (inspiration from Brave New World by Aldus Huxley as well as philosophy/sociology thoughts from Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes), listeners will be enthralled through eight tracks of penetrating blackened death metal.

The whirlwind speed, tenacity, and fierce transitions for the guitar work and drumming cannot be denied – aspects of Hate Eternal, Infernal War, and other acts in that early 2000’s brutal / semi-technical death to black scenes appear to be the ticket for Dawohl in terms of riffs, attitude, and relentless sonic obliteration. Smartly incorporating the right mixture of circular passages and mid-tempo/slower movements from time to time allows the speedier tremolo driven/blasting snare and double kick parts an equal amount of momentum, while the lead breaks incorporate a bit of arpeggio/neoclassical seasoning for another catchy touch. You’ll get six originals, an atmospheric intro for “Canticum Belli”, plus a closing cover of “I Vomit the World”, originally done by the French death/thrash veterans Mercyless on their 2013 album Unholy Black Splendor. The subtle, slower riffs throughout “Subjugation” allow reprieve from the subsequent musical assault, as Maxime growls and screams bloody murder to match the frantic proceedings. When the low chugging and rhythmic nature unite as one, it’s little wonder that you easily get swept into the churning sway of “Immanent Orthogenesis” – the work of Eloi Nicod and Florian Delbart as guitarists steady, stealth-like, injecting the right leads and counterpoint measures to build anticipation for the next extreme angle.

In 28 minutes and change, Leviathan achieves its goal for those that live in blackened death metal landscapes.

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