One can sense the narrative unfolding here without even reading about it. The album moves in very purposeful and provocative ways – the listener is taken places and left to witness events transpire, with sounds either adopting a forefront role in amongst the developing activity, or splashed across the music’s wasted post-apocalyptic backdrop. As it turns out, the album tells of the destruction of every land-dwelling creature at the hands of the “leviathan device”, and is steeped in a deeply cinematic approach to this storyline.
The opening two movements sound caught up in howling storms over sea, with the glimpses of somber synth pads fighting against aggressive winds and the cascade and crash of waves. A few of the more melodic elements float nonchalantly above the chaos when they should ideally be trapped helplessly within it, but this is a rare exception on Leviathan Device, and for the most part, the sonic components are fused very effectively.
From here, the listener is whisked into shelter – out of immediate danger but straight under the eye of imminent disaster. An uneasy tension is then teased out over the next 25 minutes, bubbling and clanging like the sinister workings of a cavernous laboratory until the device itself begins to charge into life during the title track. This is where Triangular Ascension excels – crafting ginormous spaces that transcend a simply “visual” listening experience, immersing the listener to the point at which everything feels genuinely tangible.
Yet Leviathan Device edges toward an explosive, universal destruction that never truly arrives, and it’s strange that such an extended period of discomforting tension should be punctuated with such a modest climax. There are brief rips of abrasive noise that imply something bigger, but at no point is the listener confronted with the full-scale rage that seems so inevitable.
Personally, I’m unsure exactly how I feel about this. Perhaps Agreda preferred to retain a sense of continuity in keeping his sound very subtle and restrained, but part of me feels that an intense crescendo would have left the beautifully chilling closer of “Whale Requiem” sounding all the more devastated. Leviathan Device is still a very impressive debut regardless. Perhaps, in time, I’ll come round to the implicit understatement of its main event.