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Leeches of Lore > Leeches of Lore > Reviews
Leeches of Lore - Leeches of Lore

Thrash'n'Western? Fuck Yeah! - 98%

Thumbman, June 26th, 2013

Every so often something so bizarre, featuring such an incomprehensible mix of genres comes along, and instead of being the nonsensical mess that is surely should be, it actually turns out to be a wonderful oddity. This is basically Leeches Of Lore. They mix more traditional metal genres like speed, thrash and normal heavy metal with . . . western music. To top it off, their main lyrical theme is sci-fi. Shit son, this sounds like something destined for the bottom of a trash bin. On paper this is something that is just weird for no other reason than the sake of being weird and surely is something too silly to ever come to fruition as a viable work of art. Despite having the odds and all common sense stacked against them, Leeches Of Lore produce a highly memorable one of a kind album. It's a rare sight to have something so wholly different, starkly original and completely odd pan out in such a successful way.

Speed metal and early thrash are probably the best reference points regarding the metal found in this album. There are definitely points where the riffs seem to take after Kill "Em All. The riffs are consistently of top-notch quality, and nearly always implement a high energy balls-to-the-wall approach. The vocals during these more aggressive parts follow a similar path, and in their relatively high pitched intensity kick a gargantuan amount of ass. The metal is to the point, often featuring soaring leads and well thought out shredding. Although many metal songs also incorporate the western influence, the bookend tracks, "Machrochelys Temminckii" and "Why, Toe-Bot" are straight up scorchers.

The material operating outside of the metal realm is most prominently based in western music, so it should be of no surprise that many of these sections bring to mind old cowboy movies. I guess now would be as good of a time as any to throw in the requisite Ennio Morricone reference. These sections also feature input from such styles as 70s old school country, folk, a little bit of blues and even some vague hints of psychedelia. Although, these sections are littered throughout the band's metal songs, they also are allowed a full track in which to operate. The two tracks leading up to the frenzied album closer mostly fall under this nature. Sure, " Dance of the Fairy at the Springtime Witching" does feature a metal mid section, but it is quite clear that the non-metal is the focal point of the song. Featuring absolutely no traces of metal, "Western Skies" is one of the most interesting pieces on the album. Possessing an uncharacteristically low vocal performance, this is Leeches Of Lore's take on the western epic. Its solemn nature and subtle melodies have far fetched science fiction scenarios juxtaposed on top, but somehow it still works.

This whole album is a juxtaposition, really. Things no sane human being would ever attempt to merge, enjoy a successful marriage. The band's name definitely hints at their sci-fi obsession. Of the name, band leader Steve Hammond says: " It's really just some silly sci-fi shit I made up. I wrote the song "Leeches of Lore" first, and thought it would make a decent band name. Most band names are stupid, Leeches of Lore is no different.". It is stupid, it's silly, but it works. It totally fits their bizzaro vibe. I often find myself listening to this record while playing the first Borderlands game: both have a comical edge, both dwell on weird sci-fi scenarios brought into a western setting and both fucking kick ass. There is only one small folly to be found on this album - the beginning of "The Champion Breeder". No it doesn't completely ruin it, yes I get that it fits their weird quirky vibe, but damn, I really think putting it on was an ill-advised decision. Over simple arpeggiated chords are basically Alvin and the Chipmunk vocals. Bad idea, man. The worst part of it is that this isn't a brief little stint and that the melodies being sung would actually be stellar if performed normally. Although a slight hiccup, this isn't enough to put a damper on this incredible album.

As you may have figured out by now, Leeches Of Lore are a thoroughly weird band. This straight up shouldn't have worked. However, planets colliding has brought some of the best from all sectors involved. They bring their strange vision to life with irresistible riffing, blazing leads, awesome vocals and superior songwriting. This unlikely album surpasses all expectations and remains a tragically glossed over classic.