First of all I want to notice that “Verräter” isn’t an album with new material of Leviathan. For all people who don’t know this band, Leviathan is one of the leading bands in the fast growing USBM scene. This double-album is a compilation of old and demo material of this mysterious one-man project and doesn’t contain any new material. But I think many people will see the tracks on this release as ‘new material’ because the original releases where all released in small numbers and already sold out for a long time. So only a lucky few are the owners of the original releases, and most haven’t heard these songs before. As a fan of Leviathan I ordered ‘Verräter’ immediately when I heard about it. And started listen the 2 discs with a total playing-time of more than 143 minutes.
Disc 2: ‘Krankheit’.
The reason I start with the second disc ‘Krankheit’ is because of this disc contains the older work of Leviathan. I expected a worse sound quality but the overall sound of this disc is quite clear, yet not too clear. After the intro-song ‘White Devil, Black Metal’, during the following songs, it becomes very clear for me that the typical Leviathan sound; raw, depressive black metal with a very sinister atmosphere, from the last masterpiece ’10th sublevel of Suicide’ is totally different from the music Wrest created in the beginning. Songs like ‘The Sinking’ and ‘Force the Hand of Evilution’ are much rawer, with more simplistic song structures than what I was used to hear from Leviathan. But I have to admit that most songs already do have the sinister atmosphere and also the eerie Norwegian black influences are clearly presented. Unfortunately I do not have any of the older Leviathan releases, and in the cover-booklet there isn’t any information over the origin of the songs, so I can’t tell on which Leviathan releases you can find the original songs. Although I’d like the nowadays sound of Leviathan a little bit better, I think the early work, which we can find on this disc, is also from a high level and an absolute must for all early-day black metal fans.
Disc 1: ‘Schadenfreude’
First important fact I notice while playing the ‘Schadenfreude’ disc is the change of sound in compared with the ‘Krankheit’ disc. The songs on this disc are recorded more recently and logically the sound is more full-grown; better song structures with lots of hypnotising riffs and a more sinister atmosphere; thanks to the minimal addition of keyboards at some parts in some songs. And althought the style on this disc is a bit more monotone with less variation of guitar riffs in the songs, more things happen in a song; mostly on the background, and are in my opinion a bit more interesting than the older songs. Yet this is my personal opinion, I’m sure there will be enough people that will like the older, rawer, work better. A few of the songs on this disc also contain slower parts with weird twists and quiet, distorted, fingerpicking riffs. Like on the song ‘In this Slaveship’. Also the Burzum influences are more clearly presented than ever before. ‘Schadenfreude’ is an absolute must for all people who are totally into the latest Leviathan album ’10th sub-level of suicide’.
‘Verräter’ is a great compilation double-album of the older, hard to get, Leviathan stuff, recorded between 1998 and 2002 and belongs in my opinion in every black metal collection. (GeertvMook)