That The Levitation Hex, a band with top drawer Aussie Metal pedigree that draws from Alchemist, Alarum and Aeon of Horus, amongst others, would make a good album was never in question; that they've made an utterly devastating, adamantine classic is surely a matter worth praising to the rafters, so let's get on with it...
This self titled debut is utterly demanding of the attention straight from the tortured howl that opens up first track 'The Longest Path Possible', right through to the dying embers of the album's finale 'Dream Deficit'. A sprawling, mind bending colossus wrought of power and sheer musical muscle, this is progressive death Metal of the very highest order.
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There are elements borrowed from all three of those bands mentioned in the opening paragraph of course, most notably the swirling psyched-out textural aplomb of Alchemist, but TLH are never content to rest on their laurels when they could be exploring newer, ever more demanding soundscapes and arenas.
'Depressedemic' is perhaps the album in microcosm; a seething mass of impassioned pain flooding from the vocals, an unrelenting hell of steel buffeting your brain from the instrumental side of the band, yet through everything they throw at you you're always aware of a chiming melody swirling through the maelstrom, adding a razor sharp counterpoint to the bludgeon that surrounds and eventually runs through it.
This is Heavy Metal songwriting par excellence, the sort of thing VoiVod might have come up with in their golden middle period, and it slays.
Whilst former Alchemist alumnus Adam Agius and Alarum bassist/vocalist Mark Palfreyman are at the heart of everything that is good about this album, their guitar and bass contributions are never less than augmented superbly by Aeon of Horus tub thumper Ben Hocking and guitarist Scott Young (also from the Alarum stable).
As a unit they gel in alarmingly good style bringing all their many influences and musical experiences beautifully to the boil on 'A Breathing Appararus', a song that seems very much to represent the band in terms of past, present and future possibilities, mixing seventies British psychedelia (think Hawkwind, maybe, or an incredibly pissed off Dave Gilmour) with massive slabs of US punk and, of course, Metal, to point to a very bright future for The Levitation Hex indeed, should they elect to pursue this further.
I for one certainly hope they do, because this is an incredible record.
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