Manchester based hardcore band, Leeched, have released their brand new album, To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse on the 31st of January visa Prosthetic Records.
Leeched have really kicked up a storm since arriving on the scene back in 2017. The 3 piece already have an EP and debut full length under their belt, now following that up with To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse bringing them to 3 releases in 3 years. Their debut EP, Nothing Will Grow from the Rotten Ground, and debut full length, You Took the Sun When You Left, where really well received by fans and press. Leeched have a growing reputation for powerful music delivered in a ferocious style and To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse is only going to enhance that further.
We have ten tracks weighing in at over 36 minutes to get our teeth in to. First up comes The Hound’s Jaw and it really sets the scene for the half hour of punishing hardcore we’re about to get hit with. Brain damaging screeches, feedback and fuzz seems to attack from all angles. It’s not an easy listen, it’s essentially a tangle of noises that eventually starts to settle into a rhythm before, bang! Out of the chaos comes, well, more chaos but with a bit of structure. The vocals are straight up death while the tech heavy riff pounds out with power and the fuzzy rhythm section threatens the Richter Scale. We drop out to faded, echoing sections that give a little respite but they seem to be designed to lull you in, ready for the jump in volume and heaviness that follows.
The Grey Tide follows almost seamlessly and has some really cool guitar work. Little pauses in the riff to bend a string or extend a note, sudden mutes, it’s all very cool and exciting to listen to. Bedded into the repeated punishment being dealt by the aggressive vocals and relentless drum and bass, it almost makes me want to run into the pit and get my spin kick in. Almost, but not quite.
I, Flatline switches the tone a bit bringing the guitars out of the swamp and hitting us with a wicked intro line that drops back in at different points in the song. Surrounding it is more of the unrestrained aggression in a track made for those big swooping, back breaking head bangs. Now it Ends slows the pace down to an ungodly sound with the guitars sounding like the Horn of Gondor as they blare out a warning. Some background shouts are all you get for vocals here in a track brilliantly focused on music that sets a worrying scene.
Earth and Ash seems to think they haven’t been heavy enough so turns it up another notch. Manic drumming seems to take the lead here as the vocals rain down like lava, burning everything they land on. There is some definite groove in the verses, making it very easy to get in to the flow of. Famine at the Gates seems to start with a similar riff to Earth and Ash making it seem like a continuation of the same song. It switches up soon enough into a bone shuddering beat that grabs the attention by the scruff of the neck and shakes it relentlessly screaming “are you still with me?”. The slower crunch of the desperately heavy breakdown near the end is absolute brilliance.
Praise Your Bleeds goes for the jugular with a short blast of hardcore/deathcore that throws out quirky riffs and pounding rhythms. Burn with Me is even shorter at just over a minute long. There is no time for messing about so Leeched don’t. 80 seconds of superb rhythms and hard groove is undeniable goodness for even the most stubborn hardcore detractors.
We head off into the last two tracks starting with Let Me Die which is a fiery song that starts off a little experimental. Slow crunching riffs and a repeated drum pattern acts almost like hypnosis. The vocals sit far back in the mix alongside the lead guitars allowing the violent bass and drums to lead. As the pace of the song quickens, the guitars and vocals start to slowly creep forward until we have everything at the front. Clever stuff. That brings us through to the closing track. I was instantly surprised to see it was over 6 minutes long and worried a bit for my sanity by the end. Never fear though, I am still here.
Black Sun Ceremony has a lot going on but weirdly holds structure much better than some of the shorter songs that seem to jump into chaos quickly. Black Sun Ceremony keeps a slower crunch to its riff most of the way through, something easy to sync with and get heads banging along. There is so much filth and fury embedded in the drums. The vocals are venomous and the guitars worm inside your brain as they hit you with repetition while simultaneously managing to be equally aggressive yet elegant. It’s a strong closing track to a very strong album.
Leeched don’t mess about. This is straight up aggression and force. Music that cannot be ignored and should be respected, even if it isn’t your normal taste. I don’t normally go too in on hardcore but this I can get on board with. It is recorded chaos but what impressed me the most is that it speaks to you. To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse is way more complex then it lets on to be. It is furious but clever, vicious but intricate. Every screech, crunch and bit of feedback joins together to form the wall of sound designed to encompass your very being in an album that should shake up the scene along with your bones.
Grab yourself a copy of To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse here.
To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse by Leeched (Prosthetic Records)
The Final Score - 9/10