LEACH "Hymns For The Hollow"
Updated: Jan 31, 2019
Title: Hymns For The Hollow
Release date: January 29th 2018 (digital), January 18th 2019 (LP)
Format reviewed: CD quality digital
LEACH hailed from Borås, Sweden in 2003, releasing their full-length debut album, titled “Blindfold” in 2012, followed up in 2014 by the “Above All” EP. The band’s current lineup: Markus Wikander (guitar, vocal), Jamie Andersson (guitar), Anders Nordlander (bass) and Joachim Ahlstrom (drums), released their sophomore full-length, “Hymns For The Hollow”, about one year ago, on January 29th 2018, but only as digital. Most recently, a couple of days ago, the band re-released the album on vinyl, with a limited run of only 99 copies worldwide.
The band’s sound evolved since the 2012 debut release, with it’s solid melodic death metal influenced thrash metal, by introducing newer, modern influences but also gaining intensity. Ever since the release of “Blindfold” the crossover into hardcore became more and more evident. The sound on “Above All” perhaps hinting at the future sound and influences that the band was bringing into play. Specifically, it centered around the in-your-face guitar sound. With the arrival of “Hymns For The Hollow” the sound not only kept and improved on the hardcore aspect, but continued it’s evolution deeper into the crossover realm, and as my friend KB pointed out, by incorporating certain elements of rap-metal and nu metal, evident specifically in the delivery, creating a very modern vibe. With that said, I must point out that this is not a rap-metal or nu metal album! “Hymns For The Hollow” is clearly a guitar oriented album, with the instrument taking center stage with it’s menacing sound, with an impressive array of power chords and tone to match! A perfect fit to the band’s own description: thrash ‘n’ roll! From the fluid dose of hardcore power chords, via the perfectly executed dual guitar tandem harmonies, to the highly dynamic rhythm section - this is a metal album! Make no mistake about it! Definitely rooted into the pissed as fuck, NYC/East Coast style of thrash metal. Vocally, heavily hardcore punk in range and style, with an intense delivery (Hatebreed comes to mind) that could set ablaze anything that is chopped down by the destructive forefront wall of guitar power chords and riffs! Perhaps due to the modern influences in the vocal delivery, the songs have a clear sing (shout) along tendency, surprisingly melodic, almost like Santa Cruz on a heavy dose of steroids! Lyrically, the album themes on inclusion, self determination and social issues. A beautifully executed mix and mastering is evident in the sound: wide stereo imaging, a sufficiently natural soundstage depth, full, dense, and yet clear and efficient. Listener will be able to detect all nuances, including a bit of mid/late 1990’s In Flames style arrangements, in certain instances. From the opener “The Untouchables”, setting the album’s clear direction, and to the closer “Hymn For The Hollow”, a beautiful, yet tragic epilogue, with a string section layering the acoustic guitar motif, and deepening the abyss, Leach’s latest album is a clear statement of modern extreme metal! Leave preconceptions outside. 8.5/10
© 2019 by Emil Chiru