Despite all the attention that post-rock influenced black metal or East Coast and Pacific Northwest black metal gets, there’s a few nice little unsigned, independent, more obscure USBM bands lurking in the sunny depths of California. Notably Lake of Blood and this mysterious new act, Leucosis.
With only six myspace-friends and three of them notably being Weakling, The Gault and Burzum, you get some idea of the band’s sound; oppressive, atmospheric, rangy and haughtily discordant with a slice of nasty. Leucosis’ debut album might be the perfect stop gap until the new Leviathan strikes. Pulling Down the Sky is a surprisingly good, paranoia inducing example of completely under the radar USBM.
With a gritty, distant and I’m guessing intentionally grainy sound, Pulling Down the Sky alternates between taught, neurotic atmospherics and brittle, tremolo picked, slightly industrialized black metal. I get a little Altar of Plagues vibe here and there also, but with a slightly more menacing aura. With song titles like “Approaching Lucidity”, “Hymn to the Forest of Pixels” and “Incarceral Form”, you know these guy are functioning on an intellectual and lyrical level above and beyond the occult, corpse paint and the woods in the fall.
The ambiance that fills much of Pulling Down the Sky isn’t the sort of introspective, wandering in the forest , at one with nature and campfires mood, but instead an almost virulent, contagious and sickly aura that might need a TB shot. Throw in the crackling, primal and gritty guitar tone, distant banshee screeches and the whole effort comes together as a very effective black metal release.
After “Opening”, the 8 1/2 minute title track is the first indication of the band’s bristling throes and suffocating moods as it creepily bridges into “Approaching Lucidity”‘s brooding start and its, claustrophobic, hacking 12 minutes. “Invention of the Monsters” initially hints at a delicate acoustic number, before delivering a Wolves in the Throne Room like hymnal of more shrill and droning, but fierce, atonal black metal.
“Hymn to the Forest of Pixels” is the only out of place -track on the album, being a purely acoustic, organic number more in line with the likes of Agalloch and such. It hints at a bit of an identity crisis compared to the album’s prior vitriol. Yet, the draining, 17-minute “Incarceral Form” makes amends as it screeches from the speakers with feedback and doomy, dread filled lope and I’d be willing to put it against any of the current top notch USBM band’s (and the one mentioned in this review) most sprawling and most epic track.
A perfect example of an unsigned, underground gem from a band that should be on the lips of in the know USBM fans very soon — the way Nightbringer was a few years ago. Very promising stuff indeed.
[Visit the band's website]