Leeched – To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse (Prosthetic Records)

Manchester’s Leeched laid claim to being one of the most brutal bands in the UK with 2018’s You Took The Sun When You Left, a fusion reactor of a record fuelled by sludge, hardcore and industrialism – but they’ve somehow managed to top it with this follow-up. It’s as bleak and as nihilistic as anything you’re likely to hear in 2020. A Molotov cocktail of white hot, flesh searing rage. A concrete slab dropped from the top of a crumbling tower block, hurtling towards your skull.  

Indeed, the trio clearly weren’t in the mood to fuck about on To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse. They’re more focused this time around, yet at the same time, songs like Earth and Ash sound like they’re about to break loose from their moorings and spin out of control: Leeched’s violence is barely constrained as it lurches from frak-quake rumbles to world-ending eruptions.

Producer Joe Clayton should take some credit for harnessing the band’s abrasive assault and making it throb and pulse of a mechanised dystopia. And while many could see the band as the UK’s answer to Nails, it’s not as straightforward as that: Leeched are infected by the urban blight of Godflesh and vomit forth a cold, uniquely British take on impending annihilation: tracks like Now It Ends and apocalyptic closer Let Me Die were born in England’s dark Satanic mills, not California.

To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse is admittedly difficult to absorb and its riffs lack the immediate clout offered by some of the band’s contemporaries. It hurts to listen to it. But that’s probably what this uncompromising outfit intended in the first place. This isn’t simple mosh fodder, but a dense, fractured, emotional hell ride. And in creating this record, Leeched have proved themselves to be a major power in extreme music.