Vicious, malevolent, and powerful are just a few of the words that spring to mind when dissecting the music of Leeched. The Manchester trio deal in a primal form of hardcore that bleeds profusely into the realms of extreme metal.
Popularised by the likes of Nails, Dragged Into Sunlight, and Full Of Hell, this movement aims to expertly blend differing styles of metal such as black, death, sludge, and doom into one revolting melting pot. With Leeched, however, there’s also a curious nod to old school crust punk in the harsh yet seemingly apathetic performance and vocal delivery. The seamless transitions between tracks allow for their album ‘To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse’, at times, to feel less like a collection of songs and something more akin to an audible collage of anguish and despair. This is bleak music for even bleaker times.
The intriguing use of ambient drone and harsh noise passages add greatly to the unnerving atmosphere of dread and gloom which the album exudes. It bears a likeness to latter day Code Orange, but far more menacing in its orchestration. The unfamiliarity found in the compositions also allows the band to weave through dizzying sections, which can range from perplexing and technical to barren and minimalist.
Throughout the cacophony is a constant wall of blackened fuzz and distortion that makes the proceedings increasingly difficult to navigate through. It’s this sense of some intangible barrier that feeds into the feelings of loss, loneliness, and alienation. The songs attempt to push you away; harbouring staggering levels of grief which are barely contained. The more the music attempts to keep you at arms length, the greater the urge becomes to delve deeper into the abyss.
What one could assume to be a standard piece of typical hardcore fare, sounds much more like the extreme metal equivalent of Twin Peaks with ominous, foreboding pieces that are as dense as they are unwelcoming. Tortured, nihilistic, brutal, and earnest, ‘To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse’ is an early contender for one of the heaviest and most challenging releases of the year.