Friday 3 January 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Leeched, “To Dull The Blades of Your Abuse”

By: Jeff Anderson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 31/01/2020
Label: Prosthetic Records

“To Dull The Blades of Your Abuse” CD//DD//LP track listing:

01.) The Hound’s Jaw
02.) The Grey Tide
03.) I, Flatline
04.) Now It Ends
05.) Earth And Ash
06.) Famine At The Gates
07.) Praise Your Blades
08.) Burn With Me
09.) Let Me Die

The Review:

What can you say about a band whose actions cover it all and leave little left to sell you on? In only 3 years and some change, Manchester UK's metallic hardcore act Leeched have managed to not only land on the highly respected Prosthetic Records and headline tours but have also (now) released three records; each growing darker and more manic. With almost no time in between releases and touring while avoiding steering themselves into blandness, the band has ascended itself into the same ranks as similar genre-buddies Full of Hell, Nails, and Harm's Way and doing so in about a quarter of the time. Which shows that the band's work ethic matches the ferocity of the music. If you can believe that.

The previous releases from this band include 2017's 'Nothing Will Grow From The Rotten Ground' EP and their 2018 full length record 'You Took The Sun When You Left'. While never abandoning the sound they love, which has always been sort of a Slayer meets Converge with a bit of Crowbar thrown in, each album has built off of the last one and adding a dash of something new every time while growing angrier and becoming tighter as a group. Never once does it feel like they're repeating themselves. It's a continuance that proceeds to get better and more emotional. Or emotionless?

From the visceral lyrics, to the mountain shaking bass, to the brick wall of Kurt Ballou sounding guitars, and the drums crushing your windpipe, Leeched has returned, exceptionally fast as usual, and with even more hatred than before. If the lyrics don't make you feel it, the music for sure will. If you could describe the sound of an apocalyptic, Mad Max-esque, no hope or care for the future type setting, this new record would be it.

Their latest release 'To Dull The Blades of Your Abuse' (due out January 31st, 2020 on Prosthetic Records), is a nightmare. And I mean that in the best way possible. This album builds on their previous tightly executed mixture of hardcore, sludge, industrial, and old school straight-up heavy metal and somehow manages to make it even more bleak and disgusting. While definitely not shying away from their hardcore and grind elements on tracks like 'The Grey Tide', 'Earth and Ash', and 'Praise Your Blades', this album does trek into the sludge side of things more than they have before. Tracks like 'Now It Ends' and 'Let Me Die' showcase the low and slow sludge elements this band excels at. As well as sprinkling it in almost every track on this record to my excitement. It's more raw, nastier, and more upsetting than they've ever been before. It feels like this album is trying to harm you. It wants you to feel the pain it feels. And I absolutely love that. Once the music hits on the opening track 'The Hound's Jaw', it's filled with squeals and cries reminiscent of Pantera's 'Hellbound', followed by 36 minutes of a claustrophobic dragging through scum, which only ceases at the very end of 'Black Sun Ceremony' with a swan dive into the blackest depths of your own hell.

A standout track for me is 'Now It Ends' and if there has ever been a name that fits a song this is it. Nothing fancy, nothing overdone or overthought. Just a song that feels like despair and emptiness. This song to me feels like what a man spiraling out of control would hear in his head right at the end. All signs of sanity and happiness have slipped away and this is what rings in his head until he stops it by his own hand.

Leeched completely nailed it on this record. It's January and this is already going to be a competitor for top 10 lists in 2020 for heavy music. If you're looking for bleak, gross, ultra-heavy metallic/blackened hardcore then this record is it. Forever.

'To Dull The Blades of Your Abuse' is available HERE:

Band info: facebook || bandcamp