The verdict is simple: if you're into punishing and crushing music, this is something for you. If you want something to relax and ease down to, you better keep looking. Beyond The Styx seems to combine post-metal and hardcore with grindcore influences and furious metal-riffing. Most of the songs are slow, overwhelming pieces of brutality. I can hear influences from Obituary, Aborted, Lamb Of God to Parkway Drive and Killswitch Engage in nearly every track. Except for opener 'Quo fata ferunt', which symphonic qualities remind me of Nile. Vocals are clearly borrowed from old-school hardcore on one part and from grindcore and death metal on the other. This combination of different vocal styles, along with the excellent guitar play make Leviathanima a well-varied and dynamic album.
'Code orphantage' is one of the most old-school hardcore sounding songs and for some reason it's also one of my favorites on this album. There seem to be more tempo shifts and variations in this one than in most of the others. It also sounds like a more recent song than the previous ones, as if the band grows throughout the album. After this one we get a little breather, named 'Respice finem'. With this short, instrumental piece Beyond The Styx prove that there's a lot more to them than sheer brutality. However, it is merely a breather, warning us for more rancidness and all-crushing power.
Leviathanima is an album that is very uneasy to grasp. Often it's hard to believe that this bizarre diversity of extreme metal style is created by only one band. No way these guys have been playing in similar sounding bands before this. At least one of their guitarists is a hardcore fan, the other a metalhead and the drummer sounds like he's been playing in several black, death and power metal bands before. At least, that's the image forming in my head. 'Venomen(on!)' is another perfect example of this diversity and complexity taken to new extremes.
Beyond the Styx has succeeded in making an album that has a constant supply of power, aggression and energy without becoming one-sided. This album clearly is not suited for the faint-hearted among us. I surely hope this quartet can convince audiences on both sides of the metal/hardcore borders while also entertaining the metalcore tribe. They do have the capacity to do so but you know, those people can be so goddamn stubborn sometimes...