July 21, 2013

Leucosis - Leucosis & III

Review by Justin C.

Coming in at close to 70 minutes, Leucosis's second, self-titled album is a massive and immersive experience. Our own Max described the band's first album as "atmospheric, gritty, and very doomy black metal," and that description still suits them.

Leucosis is all about layers. "Taiga" starts with a solo guitar line that sounds like it's being beamed to you from outer space. A guitar playing counterpoint, bass, and delicate percussion come in subtlly, slowly building until a doomy riff and icy screams kick in somewhere after the 4-minute mark. "Aponea" has a ferocious tremolo guitar line that winds its way around just behind the scenes, not taking center stage but rather adding color. The closing track, "Euthenasia," has a mournful guitar line that almost sounds like a xylophone playing in the background. The thing that really stands out for me is how the production tends to treat all of the layers equally. Instead of having a vocal or guitar track riding out well in front, the instruments share almost equal footing, blending into one another and making you really listen. It doesn't hurt that all of the performers are top notch. As I've said before, I don't tend to notice drums as much as other instruments, but the percussion here is a study in both restraint and fury, depending on what the songs demand.

Shortly on the heels of the self-titled album, Leucosis also released a two-track EP called III. The first track, "III" is a nearly 20-minute monster of churning black metal that never seems to back off in intensity. It also shows off a new vocal style, adding in some truly demonic roars to contrast with the higher-pitched screeches. The second untitled track is almost entirely ambient sound effects. I was put off at first, because I wanted MORE METALZ! from this album, but it's an interesting choice--in a way, it lets you decompress from the first track. It's also a brave choice, given that our digital world makes things like this so easily skippable. It will be interesting to see if these two tracks are part of a larger work or intended to stand on their own. But even if the idea of an ambient soundscape ending with near silence sounds unappealing, III is worth the price of admission for the self-titled track alone.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

  1. "As I've said before, I don't tend to notice drums as much as other instruments[...]"

    Interesting. This feels like an important piece.

    1. I don't really know what you mean :) - but the self-titled album has the best natural drum sound I've heard in ages (haven't heard III yet).

    2. Oh, certainly. But I imagine most people are drawn to some instruments more than others. As a guitarist, I tend to focus more on them, just as my drummer friend naturally focuses in on the percussion.

    3. I bet it applies to musicians even more. I've been playing guitar for a few years myself, so I too focus on it first and foremost.