To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse

I don’t want to kickstart an existential crisis by getting too far into how old I am, but let’s just say that if I had a dime for all the different fads and trends that the world of heavy music has gone through in my lifetime, I’d have a lot more free time to impart my dumbass thoughts and opinions on you, the willing reader.

Fads are, by nature, fickle; and very often in music, they tend to also be cyclical. For the past year or so, Metallic Hardcore has been back en vogue, and it’s been goddamn EVERYWHERE. You can’t hardly take a step without tripping over some scruffy, metal-buckle-baseball-capped dude wearing a new brand new oversized band T-shirt that looks like it was designed straight out of the 90s.

Manchester’s Leeched are a band that is born directly out of that vein of modern heavy music – blending together a concoction of brutal, overwhelming Metallic Hardcore, with noticeable Industrial and Nu-Metal influences that can only come from kids who cut their teeth on the likes of Slipknot and Fear Factory, and an overall aesthetic that’s somehow equal parts Swedish Death Metal, DSBM, D.C. Hardcore and, call me crazy but, 80’s hip-hop? I dunno, man. Kids are weird.

Let’s get this straight first: To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse is HEAVY. An intentional, oppressive kind heavy. There is absolutely nothing casual about the band’s approach here – an all-out hammer blow to your senses from basically start-to-finish, with a thick, murky production that seems to fully engulf you in a sense of pure dread and hate. Tracks like “The Grey Tide” and “Famine at the Gates” barrel along at a mid-paced gait, pummeling listeners with drop-tuned chugging and bellowing vocals from bassist Laurie Morbey. “I, Flatline” puts some of those nu-metal influences to the forefront, with an intro straight out of Static-X’s playbook, before launching into a death metal-inspired rumble, and delivering a crushing, pinch-harmonic-laden breakdown.

Most of the album barrels along as a similar pace, notable differences being the particularly bleak “Now It Ends” and album closer “Black Sun Ceremony,” which both move at slower, sludgier paces that are still no less pummeling, conjuring feelings hopelessness and loss that feel almost like a physical, evil disturbance presence in the room as you’re listening.

The trouble with being part of a fad is that only a select few of the bands that are part of that trend will be remembered as definitive pioneers, while the rest fall risk to being considered derivative. Copycats. Clones. One could certainly find a great deal of parallels between Leeched and similarly bleak, genre-bending darlings Code Orange. You could be forgiven if, upon hearing the beginning of album-opener “The Hound’s Jaw,” you thought for sure you were listening to Code Orange’s album-opener “Forever.” But whereas Code Orange leans a little more heavily on their industrial and nu-metal influences, Leeched seem intent on burying themselves in a much deeper, darker hole. In fact, I don’t really get the feeling that they care a lick about what anyone thinks about them or who or what they sound like, and as a result, deliver an album that indulges influences ranging everywhere from Nails, to Powerman 5000, to KEN Mode, to Bloodlet and everywhere in-between, all wrapped up in a package that’s as commanding and confident as it is anxious and grim. If you’re gonna be part of a fad, this is a hell of a way to do it.

But maybe go outside once in a while, guys? I’m a little worried about you…


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
March 25th, 2020


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