When producing a follow up to an album like You Took The Sun When You Left, it would be a safe bet to expect Leeched to put out an album more or less in the same realm as the first. After all, Leeched's debut album came coupled with an overwhelming feeling of a band that have tirelessly honed their sound to a meticulous degree and are sitting comfortably in their lane. While sonically it may have seemed like the band had already arrived at their final destination, in the year and a half since release an even bigger monster was gaining its strength, biding its time until it was released on the world; and that monster's name is To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse.
Right from track one, the vast step forward the band have taken jumps right out and immediately clocks you in the face. Layer upon layer of thick, distorted, and dissonant instrumentation. Overt aggression, tonally abrasive, and so intrusive that the experience borders on a violation. Whatever expectations the band garnered based on their previous album, To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse utterly obliterates them and rising from the ashes comes a band who rather than proceeding in their pre-existing lane, are confidently carving their own.
Each track on the album occupies its own space and fulfils something that the others don't. This results in the album feeling like a complete work that is done with as much purpose as it is finesse. Picture a living room: if the room was filled with nine coffee tables and nothing else, it wouldn't make a very good living room would it? If the excellent songwriting, performances and production give To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse its edge, It's the variety that sharpens this edge to a lethal degree.
The track 'Now it Ends' drops you into a densely-layered soundscape with drums lethargically wading from toms to snare, as siren-like feedback rings out around you, and the sustained guitar chords act as the lifeline pulling you through the ordeal. In stark contrast to this, the track immediately following this is 'Earth and Ash' which feels akin to being in a tank flying down a mountain. 'Earth and Ash' is fast, intense, and when following 'Now it Ends' it feels like being caught in the crossfire of two rival armies. Over the entirety of the album, these stark changes in pace come fast and frequent, keeping you constantly on your toes throughout.
The harsh, unrelenting aggression contained within the instrumentation is mirrored and perfectly embellished with the dark, striking lyricism. Symbology collides with meticulously detailed and overtly graphic imagery in a lyrical style that constantly flits between subtle nuance and incredibly forceful heavy-handedness. This stylistic battle seems to reflect the unpredictability that is so engrained within the music itself, further contributing to the overall sense of uncontrollable aggression fuelled by the pain of existing.
With the world descending even further into a dire socio-political hell-scape with each passing day, more and more life is starting to feel like you're slowly being ground down into a morose, red paste while the immense weight of society's impending collapse edges ever closer. The overwhelming need for a cathartic purging of the deepest, darkest catacombs of your soul is present now more than ever. To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse seeps into every recess of your inner being and acts as a conduit to violently expel all the venom deposited within you by the inescapable, salivating fangs of modern life.
To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse is out now via Prosthetic Records