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Dawohl – Leviathan

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 28 April 2022, 8:44 AM

DAWOHL is a blackened brutal death metal band from France who formed in 2009. It has been eight years since the release of their debut EP, "Potestas.Ratio.Iustitia."  They have now returned to the scene with the searing full length album "Leviathan," a 28 minute long burst of  inexorable and barbarous death metal. While brutality is their style, it isn't overly aggressive to the point of being a wall of muddy noise of static riffs deep growls. The music contained within is more methodical than a lot of other bands with this level of aggression. It doesn't hurt that their songs are often laced with groove.  This means an album that destroys but also presents surprisingly catchy songs.  Blackened elements are also present and I think that’s why it has such a dystopian and misanthropic feel. What I like most about the album is the tone of the instruments. Every instrument sounds crisp and sharp as hell—just deadly. The production and mixing are both tight as hell.

"Leviathan" is just a damn find sounding album. A  lot of music this style feels the need to bury their sound under layers of toilet and turd production but DAWOHL uses the production to embrace their sound and it worked out amazing for everyone involved. "Canticum Belli," is solid, as far as intros goes. It builds up excitement and rising action for the first proper track, "Statolatria." This song begins with both the guitars and drums going crazy with the rhythm.  The bass, which slaps hard, all the time, throws in the groove. Maxime's vocals are barked out at a savage pace, often times letting the hang over a tempo or riff change—very effective in making the music impact even more. "Voluntary Servitude," has an unforgiving rhythm section, given constant steroids by the robust double bass. Thomas' snare drum attack remains fluid and crisp despite all the other craziness he is throwing out.  The band is at its best when they slow down just enough to steer the song in a different direction. This happens at the 1:46 mark before the lead guitars throw in a clever solo.

"Telos - Immanent Orthogenesis," is my favorite track on the album. The guitars sound a bit dissonant and their chaos works magic with the drums and bass. The song is a Crescendo, consisting building up as the seconds tick by.  Many of the riffs are choppy, broken up into small but heavy pieces that hit like tide against the rocks in a storm.   I really feel like this album nails down the overall sound of the album that the band was trying to achieve.  If someone asked me what track they should listen from this band first, I’d definitely suggest this one. The last track, "I Vomit This World," is actually a cover of the Mercyless song. However this is a damn good cover. It doesn't do much different per say but it has DAWOHL's feel of unforgiving brutality and they make it sound much more modern.

Although the album feels more like an EP with its 28 minute run time and could definitely use a couple more songs, it is quality not quantity that matters. DAWOHL's "Leviathan" is a superb way to spend a half hour of power with rousing death metal.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Canticum Belli
2. Statolatria
3. Institutionalized Hatred
4. Voluntary Servitude
5. Subjugation
6. Telos - Immanent Orthogenesis
7. Macro Apoptosis
8. I Vomit This World
Maxime Guillemain – Vocals
Eloi Nicod – Guitars, Bass
Florian Delbart – Guitars, Bass
Thomas Hennequin - Drums
Record Label: Dolorem Records


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Edited 01 October 2022

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