As the side project of one-man band Leviathan, Lurker of Chalice exists as a place for odder sounds that his main gig's black-metal specs permit. Wonderman Wrest, a.k.a Jeff Whitehead, released 777 copies of Lurker of Chalice in 2000 to immediate acclaim, prompting this reissue on respected L.A.-based sludge label Southern Lord. Giant carpets of doom-distortion link together each song form, themselves prog mini-epics, into a storyless program of despair. "Piercing Where They Might" begins with crows and clean-channel contemplation before lurching headlong into perpetual panic drums, a seething lead guitar, trademark yowl, and Wrest's characteristically unintelligible vocals. "Spectre as Valkerie Is" uses crystal magic to obscure the ogre chugging behind. There are moments, such as on "Paramnesia," that show the drawbacks to the one-man studio thing, such as clumsy miking on drums mixed awkwardly above quiet, gloaming passages. But quiet-loud growlers such as "Granite," a formless haze of utterance and shiver sounds held together with big-reverb drum hits, create an ambitious and gorgeous menace from such sound scraps.
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