Review: “To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse” by Leeched

18 months after their debut full length album “You Took The Sun When You Left“, Mancunian trio Leeched – ex-Visions Of Disfigurement guitarist Judd Langley, bassist/vocalist Laurie Morbey and drummer Tom Hansell – have returned with a second album in”To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse” and a third overall with 2015 EP “Nothing Will Grow From The Rotten Ground“. As with both prior releases, it was produced and mixed by Joe Clayton (Pijn, Ithaca, Earth Moves)  at No Studio while being Mixed and Mastered by Brad Boatright (Full Of Hell, Jesus Piece, Skeleton Witch) at Audiosiege, who gave the band the sound that they wanted on both previous occasions. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? On the album Leeched say that it is All of your darkest intrusive thoughts amassed in these 36 minutes. How far are you willing to be challenged? When will you to realize you have nothing to live for”. So if you’re expecting the bleak offering that Leeched suggest, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. The album as a whole is a harrowing, dark collection of abrasive nihilistic material that has a surprisingly similar narrative to bands like Nottingham’s Iron Monkey. In their own words, they call it “uneasy listening that is claustrophobic, furious and all consuming“. They’re not wrong.

After a dark distorted spoken word “The Hound’s Jaw” comes to life with a set of guitar screeches like the tuning of a radio between stations before a verse proper amid a stampede of abrasive hardcore. Imagine a raw, cold version of what the likes of Sanction or Chamber create and you’re half way there. It’s follow up “The Grey Tide” could almost be several tracks mashed together with pummeling hardcore grooves in downtuned tones that are like nails on a chalk board. It’s sonically ugly and it pushes the listener in the same way that any extreme music does. The difference is the harsh barked vocal from Morbey which offers little or no rest from the relentless battering ram of sonic abuse. Second single and third cut “I, Flatline” has the same kind of qualities that shine on a Harms Way track with Hansell’s kit work having an almost industrial quality and Langley’s spine juddering guitar work having cleaner lines through the distortion. Those vocals are almost buried in the mix of this one and so they become in places part of the white noise layer that the track itself is buried in. The slow crawl of “Now it Ends” cycles through traumatic abrasions with a cycling siren of a ships horn noise holding everything together in an ugly moment of calm before the storm of Nails esq Hardcore that is “Earth and Ash“. A tirade of blast beats and breakneck chugs slows up for Morbey to announce the end of the World over so seriously hard hitting but thoroughly listenable riffs that end up turning the song and ultimately the album into an awkward guilty pleasure.

Dive bombing and lurching along like a beast lying in wait “Famine at the Gates” has a gargantuan sound that may leave you asking yourself what you just heard. Savage doesn’t even come close. Morbey sounds like he drank bleach for breakfast after waking up in a ghetto and he spits fire with a surprising amount of emotion and self awareness. That is if you can stop headbanging for long enough to listen to it. “Praise Your Blades” is a short sharp violent cut that gets close to the bone with it’s hateful lyrics. It almost sounds like part of another track as towards the later half of the album they start to bleed into each other to create a body of work vibe. “Burn With Me” is just as short and equally as reminiscent of Nails – but on steroids. It’s violent exterior hides a black interior of powerviolence sounds in the depths of despair. “Let Me Die” returns in part to the sounds of “Now it Ends” with the same cyclical bad acid nausea inducing turn around as Leeched play out the sounds that prisoners in Guantanamo bay who don’t understand them must endure as a form of torture. The repeated call of the track title are the bleak words of someone at the edge of reason and ready to fall into the abyss. There is no compromise, no rest and no relief. Crossing over the six minute barrier with “Black Sun Ceremony” and embracing the call of Blackened Death Metal with a seesaw riff pattern and that builds ever so slowly before ending with the sound of the waves crashing on a shore, it’s a fitting finale for a tough but rewarding listen that treads a fine line between pleasure and pain [7/10]

Track listing

1. The Hound’s Jaw
2. The Grey Tide
3. I, Flatline
4. Now it Ends
5. Earth and Ash
6. Famine at the Gates
7. Praise Your Blades
8. Burn With Me
9. Let Me Die
10. Black Sun Ceremony

To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse” by Leeched is out now via Prosthetic Records and is available over at bandcamp

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