Death the Leveller - II
Cruz Del Sur Music
Epic Melodic Doom
4 songs (38'43")
Release year: 2020
Cruz Del Sur Music
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

I do not think I am entirely late trying to submit a review for the second full-length by the Irish Death the Leveller, even though the album II came out way back in March (don’t you all think it was entirely different life back then? It feels that 10 years passed since then at least). And even if I was late, it would be a good idea for me to direct your attention to the album, so you can appreciate II in all its beauty.

After giving off an air raid siren of the opening guitar sequence in The Hunt Eternal, Death the Leveller starts climbing on the shoulders of Candlemass and Solitude Aeternus, while delivering an excellent piece of clean voiced epic melodic doom. A tentative waltz at first, The Hunt Eternal grows more full bodied and fills up in terms of density, while continuing to revel and bathe in these melodies and hooks. Maybe never achieving the heaviness of the aforementioned masters, Death the Leveller just continues to glide along and the fans of Ereb Altor, Monasterium or Evangelist will really like II. The vocals and guitars are particularly impressive. It takes a lot of guts in the metal world to place the vocals front and center. Denis Dowling is crying, prodding, doubling over in grief, with a hint of tear in his voice, modulating and stretching every syllable. Guitars, in a rare feat, build off the vocal melodies leaving accents all in the right places.

The sad, slow, another waltz-like opening of The Golden Bough is just as impressive, and although long and seemingly endless, never drags. Half way through the break comes in a form of a strong riff with syncopated rhythms taking over for the smooth glide. If you didn’t know Death the Leveller hails from the Emerald Isle, you would get that feeling from the twangy guitar, soundtracky So They May Face the Rising Sun, which spells Irish lush green landscapes and Lake of Tears Forever Autumn in equal measure. A softer, slower, stretchier track, it allows Denis Dowling to modulate even more while philosophical lyrics become audible and more prominent.

The only track that I didn’t love outright was the closer The Crossing. Somber, bordering on funeral doom with its flaccid rhythms, I wish The Golden Bough and The Crossing were changing places, as II would have left even stronger impression that way. With 3 min left in it The Crossing goes for tenser dynamics, delivering a discordant hymn, for the first time the band reminding me of their famous countrymen Primordial, an enticing move the band managed to avoid practically altogether while crafting their own path. Somehow I wish Death the Leveller remain clearer, more serene, yet in the same way unyieldingly sad, as The Hunt Eternal and The Golden Bough definitely demonstrate.

A not monstrously long album, under 40 min, II strides by effortlessly and leaves a lasting mark. You would want to play it on repeat for continuous enjoyment.

Killing Songs :
The Hunt Eternal, The Golden Bough
Alex quoted 90 / 100
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