Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes (roughly translated to War of All Against All) is the debut full length album from one man project based in Harrowgate, England, who goes under the guise of ‘Leviathan’. I was interested in reviewing this because Bal Sagoth‘s Johnny Maulding engineered the album and helped out with some synths, and I’m actually pretty glad I took a further look at this release.
With a name like Leviathan you’d expect same sort of suicidal black metal, but Written In Torment is a much fuller, denser, and death metal tinged take on black metal, that after a few minutes is actually pretty solid. It’s rooted in typical melodic Scandinavian black metal but with a nice, earthier, bassier sound and with more death metal-ish vocals and occasional militant war metal vibe.
Playing all of the instruments himself (including real drums), Leviathan certainly has the skill and song writing to develop WIT into something much better based on this debut, as it at times is very impressive, but at other times is a bit mundane. Case and point, opener “Earth Decimated” is about as forgetful of an opening song as there is, and almost has me completely writing off the album. However, it is followed by the eight minute “Eternities of Suffering Endured” which ends up being a real standout, an epic, rousing number littered with Maulding synths here and there amid some stirring guitar work and a very nice variety of blasts, solos and melodic moments, hinting at what Leviathan is capable of.
However, consistency is a bit of an issue, as he seems to sway back and forth between more solid, straight forward blackened death metal (“Beast of the Depths”, instrumental “Solitude”, “Behold Trinity the Maimed and Rot”, “A Pig Hung in Golgotha”) and these more interesting, dare I say brilliant moments like the aforementioned number as well as “Descent into Total Madness” , “O Fortuna” (which I really hoped would be some sort of Carmina Burana reference or cover), and “Grief”. And the common denominator is the more melodic songs or songs with a little Maudling synth in them seem to be the real keepers here.
With almost an hour run time, some of the fat could have been shaved off and resulted in a pretty tight little album with no filler. But even with some of the OK tracks, Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes is a surprisingly solid little release from the depths of Northern England.[Visit the band's website]