Leeches Of Lore
posted on 12/2008 By:
This self-titled effort from Albuquerque's two-man Leeches Of Lore blends grunge-y garage-level rock, stoner rock, country & western music, thrashy speed metal, psychedelia, surf rock, flamenco and more in an oddball but entertaining mixture. The lyrical content is largely (if not wholly) ridiculous and silly. The entire record is performed with a sense of humor (or if it's not, then it should be)—think of the Leeches as a metal version of Ween. (Take, for example, goofy lines like "Warrior rats in the caves / forced to have sex with the slaves" delivered in a deadpan baritone atop a loping cowboy gait in "Western Skies…" Or consider the "Spinal Meningitis"-like manipulated vocals in "The Champion Breeder…")
Leeches Of Lore is a quirky record, for sure, in that smirking indie-rock sense, but assuming you can handle that, it's also an enjoyable one. The wildly shifting scope doesn’t exceed the band’s reach—they keep the disparate parts together enough to make this not so much cohesive as just giddy fun. Their Myspace describes them as "minimalist / experimental / thrash," and at certain points in the disc, I’d almost agree with two of those, but the first one is completely off-base. They’re anything but minimalist, shifting from idea to idea, both between songs and within them.
After the opening chant of the band’s name subsides, the groovy "Macrochelys Temminckii" begins, falling somewhere between garage rock and vintage Bay-area thrash. Vocalist Steve Hammond has a high-pitched voice—it’s not crystal clear, but it’s not gravelly, high and reedy without being grating, at times reminiscent of a Jack White. (Hammond is a member of every act on Flying Midget Records, including the bluegrass/country act Black Ale Sinners, the revved-up rock act Filthy Jim, and the sludgy Midget Whores. I bring it up because the Leeches sound like a mix of all three of those.) The second track, the seven-minute "I Am The Raptor," starts with a "Ride The Lightning"-like verse into a stomping, cock-rock chorus, before crashing into a squall of feedback from which a melancholic acoustic-guitar ditty emerges. The acoustics give way to a jaunty surf-guitar instrumental bit that slows slightly and becomes spacey rock and then back into a thrash-y coda. The lilting waltz of "Cenozoic Death Waltz" follows that long strange trip, sounding more like Old Crow Medicine Show than anything you’d expect to read about on Metal Review. At least until it, too, changes—an ascending single-note 6/8 riff laid atop the acoustics…
So yeah, sometimes these Leeches are all over the damn place, but mostly they jump back and forth between stoner-y indie-metal and folk/country jangle, and mostly, it works. There are a few tracks that sort of mire down towards the middle, including the title track, which lasts about three minutes longer than it should, and "The Champion Breeder," with that creepy Chipmunk-vocal intro that gives way to a better second half. Over repeated listens, my highlights are "Western Skies," the energetic stoner rock of "Pig Scrapings," and "Dance Of The Fairy At The Springtime Witching," with its acoustic intro, driving main riff and gang-vocal shouts of "Dance!."
For awhile at least, this is available for free at Flying Midget’s website, so if you don’t believe me (or even if you do), go check it out for yourself. I recommend that you do.
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