On March the Leeches of Lore

Not sure what's going on here, but the castle is probably screwed.The one thing no one could accuse the self-titled debut from New Mexico duo Leeches of Lore (out via MeteorCity) of being is boring. Drummer/vocalist Andy Lutz and guitarist/bassist/vocalist Steve Hammond (they also occasionally employ Noah Wolters for keys and extra vocals) run through 11 tracks of madcap metal with little regard for genre or societal norms, and more over, they pull it off without sounding like caricatures of themselves.

Vocals range from a classically metallic, underdeveloped Bible of the Devil thrash wail on “I am the Raptor,” to a Man Man-on-helium special on the banjo-laced “The Champion Breeder,” to a half-speed The Big Lebowski-era Sam Elliott on “Western Skies,” and all the while the music underneath changes manically in kind from Southwestern cowboy folk to bleak psychedelia to surf rock and even some Ween-style druggery on “Dance of the Fairy at the Springtime Witching.” Have The Melvins done it before? Most of it, but that doesn’t make Leeches of Lore any less interesting.

The album hits its thrashiest in the gut section with the 1:44 “Cougar vs. Bear,” which one can only assume is a reference to the euphemisms rather than the animals themselves; a similarly nihilistic/deranged humor persists throughout, even if Leeches of Lore‘s purported sense of not giving a fuck is undercut by the obvious amount of effort that must have gone into arranging a track like “Cenozoic Death Waltz.” Exactly what it advertises, the song relies on a 1-2-3-1-2-3 acoustic line with semi-harmonized crooning overtop in an original but familiar melody until the electric guitar kicks in with a representational solo and some classic ’70s chugging lines that fit surprisingly well. It might be my personal favorite cut on the record, but I’m a sucker for waltzes. In any case, it doesn’t feel like something that just happened while Lutz and Hammond were playing darts one day.

Nine-minute-plus lounge-esque title track “Leeches of Lore” provides some dark comedy and is long enough to show off the multi-faceted personality of the band, and while in general their heavier parts come through the production thinner than, say, Black Cobra, the song’s slow build and eventual releasing of tension is satisfyingly chaotic as the song gives way to a warm feedback hum for its last minute and a half. If the goal was to be weird, they achieve it even on their most relatively straightforward “Black Cognac” — where Bible of the Devil and Melvins influences again show up — but it’s also clear that Leeches of Lore take what they do very seriously.

How sustainable this approach is over the course of several records, I don’t know, but for anyone stuck in a listening rut seeking either a new take on quirk metal with Southwestern undertones or just something that doesn’t sound like everything else, Leeches of Lore is the way to go. Part thrash godliness, part semisweet acousticism, all crazy as a fucking loon, the band’s bizarre approach is bound to warrant repeat spins whether you can relate or not.

Do you think they called each other about the white t-shirts? I do.

Leeches of Lore on MySpace


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One Response to “On March the Leeches of Lore”

  1. […] seems like since we last checked in on them, New Mexico’s Leeches of Lore, who released their self-titled debut on MeteorCity earlier this year, have solidified more of their tour dates. Now officially a trio […]

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