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Music / Leviathan

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Your self extinction.

"A long period of time i got up, went to grab coffee, work on the music, go to work, work all day, come home, work on music until i went to sleep, that’s all i did really…i poured everything into that, it was the only release i had you know. All i wanted to do was to make music. i would leave work earlier sometimes, just to come home…"
Jef Whitehead, regarding the creations of the first two Leviathan records.

Leviathan is the one man project of Jef "Wrest" Whitehead, having its beginnings in California and then relocating to Portland, Oregon.

Leviathan is often considered (along with Xasthur) as a core band within the American branch of Depressive Suicidal Black Metal, having bleak and depressing lyrics of darkness, suicide, and heavy misanthropy.

Releases (Albums bolded):

  • 1998 - Three (Demo 3)
  • 1998 - Time End
  • 2000 - MisanthropicNecroBlasphemy
  • 2000 - Seven & Slaveship
  • 2000 - Shadow of No Light
  • 2000 - V (Demo 5)
  • 2000 - Video Brolo (Demo 8)
  • 2001 - Howl Mockery at the Cross
  • 2001 - Intolerance (XI)
  • 2001 - Nine (Inclement Derision)
  • 2001 - Sacrifice Love at the Altar of War [Compilation]
  • 2002 - The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide
  • 2002 - White Devil, Black Metal
  • 2002 - XV
  • 2002 - Verräter [Compilation]
  • 2003 - Live in Eternal Sin/The Speed of Darkness [Split]
  • 2003 - The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide note 
  • 2004 - Crebain/Leviathan [Split]
  • 2004 - Tentacles of Whorror
  • 2004 - Black Metal Against the World [Split]
  • 2004 - Xasthur/Leviathan
  • 2005 - Demos Two Thousand
  • 2005 - A Silhouette in Splinters note 
  • 2005 - Totentanz II/Portrait in Scars [Split]
  • 2005 - Howl Mockery at the Cross note 
  • 2006 - Sapthuran/Leviathan [Split]
  • 2006 - The Speed of Darkness note 
  • 2006 - The Blind Wound
  • 2008 - Massive Conspiracy Against All Life
  • 2009 - Sic Luceat Lux [Split]
  • 2011 - True Traitor, True Whore
  • 2014 - Leviathan/Krieg [Split]
  • 2015 - Scar Sighted
  • 2016 - Leviathan note 
  • 2017 - The First Sublevel of Suicide note 
  • 2018 - Crawl / Leviathan [Split]
  • 2018 - Unfailing Fall into Naught note 
  • 2021 - Portrait in Scars & The Speed of Darkness note 

There is no light for you....

  • Arc Word: Early on, "Whore". Popped up years later in 2011 with True Traitor, True Whore.
  • Ax-Crazy: Jef Whitehead, at least early on.
  • Black Metal: With a slew of ambient through in the mix.
  • Breather Episode: A Silhouette in Splinters is like this, being an ambient album shoved in a discography of screeching black metal. Of course it's not too relaxing with the dark nature.
  • Brown Note: Jef's vocals are disturbing, especially with the first two albums. Around Massive Conspiracy Against All Life the screeching vocals sort of dropped and he used a deeper vocal range. Of course this doesn't mean he can't still do them, he just doesn't use them as much anymore.
  • Careful with That Axe: THE DUDE CAN SCREAM.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Jef did not have a happy childhood. According to the "One Man Metal" documentary by Noisey, he didn't have a good relationship with his mother and father (nor step father), resulting with him running away and becoming the ward of the court and raised in a neglectful religious home (Not that Jef didn't mind but questioned it). He mentioned how he'd jump from home to home and eventually was going to be forced to be sent to a boys home, prompting him to just up and leave and eventually grow into what he's known now (alongside his skate-bordering stuff).
  • Darker and Edgier: Lurker of Chalice somehow manages to be even more bleak and hopeless than the main Leviathan albums, despite actually being less heavy.
    • Massive Conspiracy Against All Life in particular seems too be a mix of despair and rage, stemming from the death of Whitehead's partner in 2006.
  • Despair Event Horizon / Driven to Suicide: The lyrical themes, along with Hates Everyone Equally.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: While Jef suffered immensely from the suicide of his girlfriend (which happened because she was suffering brain cancer) and he himself almost committing suicide among other things, he finally got married and is even a father to a baby girl, even though the two did divorce afterwards (seemingly being on friendly terms, given the two still work together). Jef's since been relatively stable, focusing on promoting music and doing his tattoo art.
  • Epic Rocking: Leviathan's music usually can go around the 5-7 minute mark, but longer lengths still occur, such as "At the Door to the Tenth Sub Level of Suicide" (15:02)note , The title track of A Silhouette in Splinters (11:00, "Merging with Sword, onto Them" (10:58), "Noisome Ash Crown" (12:55), and the title track of Scar Sighted being ten minutes.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Jef has this later on within his career.
  • I Am the Band: Jef is Leviathan. And he's often stated this trope is the reason why he doesn't play live, since "It'd be a Leviathan cover band".
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: It's sometimes hard to tell if there even are vocals, let alone what they're saying.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: At least with True Traitor, True Whore since there aren't any lyrics posted for it.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: "Fucking Your Ghost In Chains of Ice", "Requiem for a Turd World", "The History of Rape", Jef loves this trope.
  • Jump Scare: He likes to start off his albums with atmospheric intros before suddenly transitioning into blasting black metal.
  • Lead Drummer: Jef's primary instrument of choice, in contrast to the majority of one man black metal bands. This is another major reason for refusing to play live, as he tends to stick to drums when collaborating with others.
  • Misogyny Song: Tentacles of Whorror seem to be about this, but play off more for shock value than legitimate misogyny. True Traitor, True Whore on the other hand plays more with this with actual animosity in regards to Jef's ex who accused him of sexual assault, which were later on dropped.
  • New Sound Album: A Silhouette in Splinters is dark ambient rather than black metal. His albums from Massive Conspiracy... onwards tend to have a harsher, more technical sound inspired by Deathspell Omega, rather than the ambient direction of his earlier albums.
  • Nightmare Face: The cover of Tentacles of Whorror.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Massive Conspiracy Against All Life was all based about Jef's pain from the suicide of his girlfriend Jesse, who suffered from a brain tumor in 2006. Jef himself attempted suicide but failed, resulting with the album and the song "IV-XI-IV" being about Jesse.
    • Even more with that was the demise of his other project, Lurker of Chalice, which according to the "One Man Metal" documentary, was based around Jesse, since Jef called her The Muse of the project. She was not however the inspiration of the songs off of Lurker, as Jef stated the music existed before he met her. She just served as The Muse and her demise lead to the project's end.
    • True Traitor, True Whore in particular was Jef's way of venting his anger towards his ex-girlfriend who alleged that he raped her with his tattoo instruments, which were later dropped but he was put on two-year probation for "aggravated battery".
  • Scare Chord: Jef loves doing this.
  • Trope Codifier: Leviathan and Xasthur are the projects that established the American branch of Depressive/Suicidal Black Metal.
  • Vocal Evolution: Jef's vocals became deeper and more guttural as the project went on.