Santa Cruz doesn’t seem to be a place to invoke the most grim and gloomy kind of black metal. But with Leucosis, the story is different. The band made its debut back in 2011 with the amazing “Pulling Down The Sky” that pulled off really impressive reviews along its way. The level of black metal presented then by the band, through the quality of the tracks and their sound, really caught up the attention of many out there, including myself, in such a way that i had to put “Pulling Down The Sky” in the altar of my favorite releases of that same year. This year they mark their return with another brilliant milestone into their young, yet prolific career. A self titled album made out of six amazing chapters which have a total of more than one hour of length. Although it’s a long release, I assure you that it’s one of the most well spent hours you will have. At this point, before i go further into the album i must warn the fans of “Pulling Down The Sky” that here they may be a little bit disappointed or even upset by Leucosis sound on this album. It all depends on how you like your black metal and how open-minded you are. I believe that this evolution in Leucosis sound is quite good as the songs themselves, united by different nodes that culminates into something quite interesting and innovative. It becomes a bit difficult to classify Leucosis sound with this new record. Atmospheric Black Metal Doom? Cascadian Blackened Doom? Whatever. It’s clearly black metal that drinks from cascadian and atmospheric fountains of inspiration and obviously some doom. Whatever the result, the way it’s made and how it sounds, it’s awesome.
The album begins with “Anaesthesia“, which is the perfect track to begin this album with. An epic track that contains 14 minutes of the most perfect doom infused black metal where the rhythm ranges from slower sludgier/doom rhythms to the most cascadian influenced black metal stretching even to some beautiful instrumental territories with melodic contours that all together, offer an excellent gateway to what is a brilliant album. If we dissect this track we will see that 80% is merely instrumental, the voice when marks its presence, it shouts from way beyond, in total despair all caught up in this whole mix. But what really amazes me is how Leucosis take all of these different influences and create this unique harmony. Immediately glued “Calcinate” whose initial tone reminds me a snippet of “Time as Automation” from Buried Inside. Sweet and melodic notes are gently released as they slowly build a scenario that aims to be, at least, epic. The tone that the band injects into their tracks really has that dramatic charisma and melancholy that is so simple yet so brilliant. The tone increases before a deluge of thick blackness drowns us all. The voice is quite creepy as it echoes through this impenetrable wall of sound.
“Taiga” is another of these beautiful chimeras that joins elements of this sad, mournful atmosphere, black metal and doom holding us over the 13 minutes it lasts as the notes float carrying us slowly into a very ethereal atmosphere. In all of the tracks so far, there’s always this feeling of a crescendo. The tension, the stress is increased by the minute through every single note played. A fact that happens in “Grasp” that seems to start up within the drone territories, which emerges into something dynamic, more energetic, almost as if we’re inside of a heavy war tank into a battle scene that is about to burst. The drums and the buzzing mass of noise produced by the guitars/bass alliance, mark the sound of the machines that march full speed on the barren dry soil creating an almost deafening sound. “Aponea” offers us a dose of a more muscled black metal. Crafted with a purely genuine sound. No major effects or arrangements. Simple and crude. Which begins in the turbulent waters of black metal and flows into a doom/sludge sound.
“Leucosis” closes with “Euthanasia“, another colossal track closing in great dramatic tones, this magnificent album. Stained in gray tones, the cloud of dust that was raised behind is now starting to settle on the hard and wrinkled ironclad of this war machine that is Leucosis. Dramatic tones melodically fused with black metal than insists in not giving us even a minute of respite. If the track that opened the album was the perfect gateway, then this is the perfect track to close it. “Euthanasia” closes in all of his glory filled of heavy riffs exuding the most beautiful melody that embodies feelings of sadness, loss and suffering in the most perfect way. Just look at the cover of the album. There you see something as pure as a dove being released from the most deadly powerful war machine ever created. It’s the perfect image to represent what you will hear here.
In the end Leucosis proved that with this new record, they have simply crafted one of the most amazing albums coming out from the underground scene. The band has proved that through their creativity and musical prowess they have earned their place in the sun. They sure deserve more eyes and ears upon them. One of my favorite albums for this year for sure. An excellent album that is already available for purchase through their Bandcamp, where you can also order the album on tape, limited to only 30 copies. Act fast! Follow their moves on Facebook.