New York City’s Funeral Leech show off their smoldering brand of death and doom in long form on Death Meditation.
The band has been around since 2015, releasing a demo/EP in 2017 called The Funereality and a single the following year, “The Void.” That first release has a number of interesting changes in the songs, and is overall a lean more toward doom than (traditional) death in style and execution. The single from 2018 is a little more up-tempo, holding steady on the coarse vocals and driving rhythm. It rolls heavy doom just past the middle then clips sparky at the end, wrapping up with a consolatory quotation. Both these releases generated interest in the growing latch of followers powerful enough to sponsor an eager anticipation for a full length album.
Funeral Leech is a four-piece: Lucas Anderson on both drums and vocals, Zack Chumley and Alex Baldwin each playing guitars, and Kevin Kalb running the bass. This set-up achieves a low heavy and fullness of sound that suits perfectly the themes these musicians explore. The opener is “Downpour,” which was also included on the 2017 EP, but this version is rerecorded and reimagined. It has a soaking dirge feel to it, an invocational quality that puts you the mood for doom. “Statues” is next, and it is faster and more aggressive, with a greater flexing of the guitars. Each song takes the listener farther and farther into the world the band is creating, and there is a true cumulative effect hearing to the entire set front to back. If I had to pick one song as a favorite on the album, it would be “Morbid Transcendence” for the tempo shifts, the density of the musical feeling that comes through, and the compositional attitude of confidence and command that allows the journey to carry on in surety to the fitting frenzied conclusion. Well done all around.
There is a scheduled show at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn on May 19 according to the band’s Facebook page, but May dates are pretty iffy in the current way we find the world. Funeral Leech is a band that would be perfect for a number of festivals, so let’s hope we see their name in lineups later this year. Meanwhile, there is Death Meditation, out on April 17, 2020 from Carbonized Records on vinyl and streaming in the usual places. This is an excellent hybrid album. Recommended.