Videoclip of the Month!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Heritage of Vergil - Leviticus

A Heritage of Vergil - Leviticus

Leviticus is A Heritage Of Virgil’s second studio release and debut album, it was released in 2011 by the band themselves. These guys are from Germany and are treading the relatively new genre of combining blackened death metal and melodic/progressive hardcore. This is an excellent example of how bands from the hardcore genre are now widening their musical styles and implementing them into their sound with good old innovation. It’s bands like these that keep the evolution of music going and ultimately keep metal alive for generations to come and enjoy, because without innovation we would still be listening to the same old tap sticks back from the stone ages (days of AC/DC and Metallica).

This album opens up with the sounds of a man mumbling some religious lines a lady being murdered (sounds like she was being slashed by a knife or some sort) combine this with the album cover and you can easily tell that this album has some religious implications in their lyrics. The crucifix and and usually large amount of musicals/instrumentals which all portray some kind of sinister or dark feeling to them give this away. But the thing that I found most awkward that was in this album was in the track Nebula. This is another instrumental where it sounds like there are explosions going off in the background and the sound of marching footsteps (most likely from an army). But the awkward thing is the speech the man is saying. He talks about winning a war back in 1941 to his fellow Americans , but the thing is that these guys are a German band so I don’t know exactly what they are trying to imply, but I sense some black metal ideologies in their music and lyrical themes. Or that could just be me being paranoid.

As soon as you hit play on the first actual song it’s easy to tell that these guys are definitely death metal influenced, to be precise, technical death metal with blackened death metal style rhythm guitaring. But there is a so breakdown that goes through most of the opening track which does give away that there are a few major “core” influences at play here. Although the concept of people combining black metal with the “core” genres might be a little daunting for all the true, patriotic black metal fans. These guys have managed to combine the two really well. Because they having really tried to combine both to create a blended sound. Instead they have separated the two components so it’s; clear, straight forward and doesn’t confuse an already hard to understand technical side to their music.

I think that they have taken the atmosphere of black metal in shoved it in there with everything else. The musical sound usually alternates between black metal and death metal periodically. So one second you are hearing a death metal style of atmosphere and next you hearing a black metal style of atmosphere. But the best thing about this, is that the transitions between the two “sectors” is very subtle and sometimes you cannot pick it up unless you actually feel the music.

The last and I think most important element to their music is the melodic hardcore elements to their music. This basically seels all of the musical components and without this, I think their music would have been ok, but boring and stale. But there is something about this part of their music that makes this “melodic hardcore” fit in so well. I have no idea what it is because usually bands who do this, make the transitions from one to the other extremely rough and a little hard to take in. And when they do this over and over again it makes the music seem confusing, awkward and ultimately… bad, really really bad. There is just something about their style of melodic hardcore they play that makes it overwhelmingly beautiful. It’s so uplifting, and so beautiful and just listening to these parts could get anyone out of an angry or emotional mood in an instant.  This album usually jumps between melodic hardcore and normal modern hardcore. With the disorganised structure of their music as well as style of breakdowns.

Now finally to the breakdowns, the breakdowns in this album are usually deathcore/slamming brutal death and hardcore style breakdowns. They all fit in perfectly with each other and also with the music. Although, there might be a few times where the transitions are a little iffy, usually what follows is a decent breakdown that if you’re not careful, can get your head banging/moshing in a second. There are two types they have used in the course of their album. You have the subtle ones (hardcore style) which don’t usually stake centre stage in their music. Instead they are in the background, I think that they are just there to fill in the music. Then you have your complementary heavy breakdowns (deathcore style). Now these are the ones that get people’s head banging, also it is extremely easy to distinguish a subtle breakdown from a heavy breakdown by the way the heavy one hits you in the face.

Musically these guys aren’t really anything special, there aren’t any overwhelmingly skilful in their album. Now I don’t think that these guys can’t do it, I just think that their music doesn’t need it. Because their music is all about composition rather than what or how they play it. Now I’m not trying to say that these guys have not skill because by the way they play in a band, is a skill itself an it’s something they have mastered. So I don’t think it’s fair to discount them because they don’t implement that kind of thing into their music. Just keep away if you are expecting super speeding solos and shredding guitars.

The vocalist for this band isn’t really anything special. He does your ordinary deathcore scream and occasionally utilizes his hardcore style screams. Now this might not seem interesting, but it’s not how high or how gutturally his growls are, it’s the way he uses them. I think his voice is absolutely perfect for the sound that they produce, it fits in like a glove. And not only that, but he uses the appropriate style at the appropriate time and mood. And I think that this is the most important part, even more important than showing off your swollen throat after a hard day gutturaling your brains out.

The guitar work isn’t anything special either, hell I’m going go ahead and just say that the guitar, vocals and drumming is nothing special. But like I said before, it’s all how they execute it. I think that their execution is absolutely magnificent. Back to the guitar work, I think the guitaring is the key aspect in the melodic hardcore music. The high pitch tremolo picking is the only thing that creates the uplifting mood in their music. Although it’s so simple, it’s extremely effective. When the guitarists plays the technical side to their music, they also do an excellent job at doing this. The guitarist is tight with the rest of the band which is great for a technical deathcore band.

Finally the drumming, I think that the drumming is the only downside to their instruments. I think that their music could have been a whole lot more powerful and impacting if they had incorporated blast beating into their music. But, I’m not sure how this would impact their “melodic hardcore” sound though, because melodic hardcore is suppose to be soothing and nurturing. Introducing blasts could ruin this and we don’t want that now do we. I think the drumming on their “melodic hardcore” side of things is almost perfect though.

There are a few excellent tracks on this album. They are all well constructed and have elements of beauty as well as darkness. The opening track is The Reason and it starts off with their technical deathcore sound. When it comes to how extreme their technical sound is, it’s not THAT extreme and I think it’s because of the absence of their blast beats which is important for any extreme metal band. But when came the hardcore parts to their song, I think that the music was absolutely perfect. The next track to mention is The Delinquent, it is basically the same as their opening track when it comes to song structure. But the hardcore part in the track is a little more emotions, it’s slower and utilizes clean vocals. The atmosphere that is created in this track is so beautiful and its probably the most uplifting part of the whole album. The next track is The Victim it basically follows the same pattern as the other tracks in the album. Except this track has more of a metalcore feel than anything else. The style of riffs and the atmosphere they create sounds just a like a metalcore, another beautiful song.

Overall, this album is an excellent way to start an debut album. Their song structure is excellent and well as their song writing, and it’s their song writing that makes these guys so damn good. They have both darkness and light in their music and the transitions between these two sectors are extremely smooth and uninterrupting. And best of all, the didn’t decide to go cheap and go with low quality recording, all of the recording is absolutely top notch and flawless. I recommend this album to anyone who likes “core” metal in general because this is a definite treat. Whenever you are in a emotional mood, this album is the perfect thing to get back on track. Furthermore,  I recommend the tracks The Reason and The Delinquent (I just realised how many tracks started with “The”). Both of those will definitely give you a clear idea on what this band is like and what this band is like it great. Overall, this is an excellent album that could appeal to a wide audience and is highly recommended. Leviticus by A Heritage of Vergil gets a 17/20.

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