Leechfeast - Neon Crosses (2018)
Aiming big with their sophomore album, the Slovenian group of Leechfeast have put together four tracks, each one at least eight minutes long. It's their first album release since 2012, though they've put together material for splits in that time, and the atmosphere they build over the course of the new LP's two sides is one of smothering dread, making the lengthy wait for the follow-up something quickly forgiven as it plays.
The album leads with “Sacrosanct”, which quickly establishes the nasty tone and gritty textures which persist from there 'til the end, a lo-fi spoken sample providing a nicely disorienting blare of detached reference before the bass and drums come in to set a pace like a stoned sloth with razors in its paws. “Halogen” follows, bringing a more concentrated throbbing to the bass-beam swinging, plus a tasty melodic nod to a classic piece of heaviness (cast your mind back about half a century when you hear it yourself), and “Tar” leads the way into the second half by diving head-first into a morass of grime you can practically feel on your skin. “Tar” is also the longest track of the LP, and its time is well-spent by the band as they grimly take hold of the riffs and twist them into lethal configurations.
By the time “Razor Nest” comes about to usher in the end, the album's already taken a compelling journey through its soundscape of pits and pains, but the band doesn't let up with the final track. Instead, they push on into even more massive sound ranges, lending a grandeur to the suffering that's almost symphonic in the way it stretches up and out, though the music stays well-grounded with its instrumentation. As the last of it rattles to a close, the band takes a minute to linger on some stripped-down echoing, providing a care to it that neatly captures the effort taken to make the album as a whole fit together in sludgy glory. And they succeeded, pretty damn well at that.
Sludgers who want it truly dirty and despairing, don't let this one slip by you. It's out March 30th, dually released by Dry Cough Records and Rope Or Guillotine, with a later cassette version from Hellas Records, and a string of European live dates through April in various countries. Damn, I envy those of you who get to catch those shows.
For Fans Of; Dead Existence, Meth Drinker, Mudbath, O.D.R.A., Zeppheroin