Megaton Leviathan - Mage
Seventh Rule Recordings
Ambient Doom
5 songs (41' 45")
Release year: 2018
Seventh Rule Recordings
Reviewed by Andy

Fellow Portlanders Megaton Leviathan bill Mage as an evolution of their sound -- and now I suppose I'll need to go back and listen to the rest, because it's one of the more interesting doom albums I've heard this year. Leaden and droning, a combination of slow-tempo doom with ambient backing, it's got a charm that's all its own.

The style reminds me of Goatpsalm, but this isn't as nature-focused and puts more emphasis on the vocals. While there are a few heavy riffs in there, the synths get a lot of play, providing most of the varied parts of the sound. The guitars wail with feedback while the synthesized bass wavers uncertainly under the groaned lyrics. Violinist Andrea Morgan supplies female vocals for a sort of duet, but sounds no more cheerful than the regular vocalists.

The dark but warm synth bass pulsing at the bottom of the mix isn't a nod to trance music, though, but its older ancestor: Brian Eno's experimental ambient tracks. Sure enough, there's a cover of The Belldog on here, and it's excellent, quite possibly the best song on the album. Heavier and slower than the original, it also lets in more of the ambient keyboard -- but its ambient vibe is exceeded by the final track, Within the Threshold, a fifteen-minute long instrumental (Morgan throws in some wordless vocals, but that's all) that provides the atmosphere that listeners, if they've made it this far, will have been waiting for.

Even with the dreariness of some of the middle tracks, there's a gloomy grandiosity to Mage. Fans of Cascadian black metal (from which the band takes some influence) and old-school ambient will probably take an interest in this.


Killing Songs :
Wave, The Belldog, Within the Threshold
Andy quoted 79 / 100
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