ANNOT RHÜL: Leviathan

Sci-fi inspired song cycle from the Norwegian bedroom composer.

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Laptop composer Sigurd Tonna created this album chiefly off his own back, enlisting the assistance of guest musicians to fill out his vision where necessary. That said, it took him seven years to produce a follow-up to 2007’s Death Defying Unicorn. Maybe he was too busy reading HP Lovecraft, as he leans heavily on the Cthulhu mythos for the narrative themes running through this album, presenting a scenario of alien forces playing havoc with our seas. The undulating mantra that forms the centrepiece of the 11-minute opener is a gently beguiling thing, culminating in a crashing storm of hard rock mayhem. But from here on in, it’s a more unpredictable ride, as the wibbling Mellotron and spacey squiggles of The Color Out Of Space give way to the floaty melancholy of Surya, then the stoned, Floydian wistfulness of The Mountains Of Madness. But it’s stylish touches such as the spacey xylophone of Distant Star and the eerie lullaby opening of R’lyeh that help produce a real atmosphere of disorientation. And that, ultimately, is what sucks you into this intriguing tall tale of an album.

Jonathan Selzer

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.