A heavily warped vocal narration starts the record that is nearly impossible to make out, it is eerie and acts as a rolling fog of foreboding weight that transports the listener under a judging gaze. As the instruments are gradually introduced, waves of noise and pain rush the audience and create visions of blackened splatters of color that fade away just as quickly as they come. “The Hound’s Jaw” is an abrasive first look that transpires into “The Grey Tide” where Leeched is a pulverizing mechanization of hardcore performance.
On bass and lead vocals is Laurie Morbey, then Tom Hansell leads the percussive assault, while Judd Langley reigns with guitar that performs these electronic kill switches throughout the record as a staple of their sound. Even their lyrics which describe horrid visual imagery like on the track “I, Flatline” where the environment is broken down and brutal. “The slums mourn at night, the sound of terror, the sound of shock. The whores now roam, feasting. Like a blade in the skull, it’s fused to the marrow,” to then describing, “The machines wash the stains from my throat and brand the marks into my already burnt skin.” Essentially every second with Leeched is designed to emotionally scar and wound the opponent or audience in this case.
Time goes on with To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse and still, the band is belligerent and shows little signs of ever slowing to appease mercy. One of the third-acts of the record comes with “Praise Your Blades” which is a steam engine barreling down at full speed with distortion and perplexity being the tracks it travels on. To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse is a complicated piece of art that transfers from the womb to the tomb, existential anguish where pushing on does not seem viable. Leeched sets roadblocks in the form of tracks that are punishing, but always a joy to return to in some masochistic sense.
When the sweet release of a final death comes, To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse is simply astonishing. It has the makings of being horribly lasting on the listener and can capture some of the elements of experimenting with sound that pushes the record further. If having skulls crushed under the weight of aesthetic alone, Leeched assembles a gladiator pit of performance.