Livarkahil: Wrath of God

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Livarkahil: Wrath of God
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Livarkahil: Wrath of God
Death Metal, Hardcore
Self-release
June 12th, 2012
Release length: 30:26
Myspace
Soundcloud
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Livarkahil is a Death Metal/Hardcore group that hails from Paris, France. The band formed back in 2006, and since then had issued a demo in 2007, as well as two official full-length releases, the latter of which (2011’s Signs of Decay) was handled by Listenable Records. A little less than a year later, the group went back into the studio and recorded a five song album titled Wrath of God for an independent release. According to the press release, it will be available as a free download, as well as be released on a USB drive. But, even at the cost of nothing, is this worth your time?

At first spin, this was something you can easily get excited for. However, the audio quality does wear thin after a little. While Wrath of God isn’t a bad offering, the production left a slightly muffled tone to everything, muddying the water a little too much, but not to the point where the bite was too dulled. The guitars have a very strong blunt edge to them and come through pretty loud, as does the bass, both carrying a decent trudging and even somewhat brutal Death Metal approach while still feeding into the typical Deathcore sound. The drums are strong here as well with a nice sharp click to the bass kicks and crisp cymbals that really stand out in the mix, especially when the breakdowns kick in and the richness of the chords seems to get louder. The snares are a little deeper and duller, but still podded at a level that tears through everything to be heard. The vocals are a stable higher screaming that treads into rhasp territory, but after a while the lack of variety does start to wear thin. When additional elements like lower tones are used, like on “Devotion,” it’s a welcomed change of pace.

But, with the audio not quite as impressive as you would hope, the energy is still captured well amid the muffled chaos and atmospheres. Aside what’s pointed out with the audio quality, the only other problems you could have lie in track length, as well as the Hardcore influences. Often the material will have a strong environment, but is cast aside for a breakdown that isn’t bad, but can easily interrupt the flow. “Through Hatred and Devotion” is a great track that just drips with energy. The chorus really stands out with catchy riffs that hit after a slow build back to the faster pace from the interruption of a slower breakdown which isn’t anything too impressive aside being very heavy thanks to the louder bass. While at five minutes and twenty seconds it offers plenty of variety, even if it doesn’t suit the song right away. These faults can progress into something that does feel natural, just poorly transitioned.

There is an exception to this, which is “The Eternal Sun.” It slowly moves forward with a long introduction that builds up from a desolate march theme to a punishing Death Metal offering with haunting chords. While the atmosphere isn’t that unique right off the bat, the blackened guitar chords eventually do kick in and even give a slight Middle Eastern vibe here and there, something found throughout the album. The song will easily have some body part moving along to the beat, as well as the infectious and memorable chorus. “Wrath of God” also stands out on this release as having plenty of solid music to bang your head along to. Though not quite as intense as “The Eternal Sun,” it greatly dwarfs it when it comes to atmosphere. The breakdown does feel a little more in line with the song, using the sudden shift to its advantage, but again feels a little out of place. This and the abrupt halt for distant guitars around the five minute mark seems to only extend the life of the song in a rather pointless manner. This title track easily could have been cut down, but instead it carries on for over seven minutes, closing with material that feels a little tacked on.

But, even with those faults and interruptions, Wrath of God is still an intense release. There’s more quality material here that counters most of the problems as much as they can, leading to a richly atmospheric and often brutal performance. Given that this will be available as a free download, there’s no reason at all to not check it out. At five tracks in length, and each one a varied higher quality that pushes over thirty minutes total, it’s a safe bet that Livarkahil‘s fans, and those of general Blackened Death Metal will enjoy this release, despite the additional Hardcore elements they insist on incorporating.

01. The Eternal Sun – 7:52
02. Through Hatred and Devotion – 5:20
03. Deny Your God – 3:12
04. Devotion – 6:38
05. Wrath of God – 7:23
Overall Score: 8/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Livarkahil via Rock ‘n Growl Promotions.