Two-headed black metal beast Leucosis battle, display turmoil on bloody third record ‘Liminal’

Black metal exists amid chaos. Nothing is certain or permanent. Life is only worth extinguishing. Artistic unions last as long as they can before they are expunged. It’s not supposed to be an easy way of life for a musician, and the expressions are intended to be dark and unforgiving, strange spirals into which one cannot just expect to be released.

If any modern band knows that cycle of destruction better than Leucosis, I’d like to know who it is. They have revolved, evolved, and devolved over the past eight years, putting out some of the most enthralling black metal in the U.S. and, when the spiritual forces have aligned, led to live shows that crush souls. But it’s not been an existence of permanence. Players have come and gone. The process of just being a band has been a daunting challenge. And their idea of what Leucosis even is has been tested on numerous occasions. But persevere they have, and they return with their cataclysmic third full-length “Liminal” that is here to burn your soul beyond recognition. The two players behind this project—vocalist/guitarist Jeff Lynn (formerly of Gaze) and drummer Jacob—have committed their own internal forces to this project, and this five-track album is a black metal expression that is full of emotion and hell, as the songs do their best to blacken your mind.

The 10-minute “Bereft” opens the record with a burst of storming black metal, very much like the incredible rain deluge outside my window right now. The vocals burn while the riffs spear, as guitars spiral out from there, and chaos chars bodies. The drums rattle before the song comes to a halt, dragging along in a noise cloud. A serene stretch leads to the intensity building back up again, the track chugging all over, and a thrashy assault crushes walls before subsiding in warmth. The first of two untitled instrumental tracks follows, as surfy notes sway, the music causes your brain to freeze, and a strange trickle of coldness envelopes your body.

“Saturnial” opens abruptly and begins driving viciously. The melodies burst, while the growls are engulfed in hellish madness, and a hurricane force rips everything apart. The pace pelts your face with cinders, while the guitars gush with emotion, and the monstrous growls that erupt and pummeling playing that accompanies bring everything to a bruising finish. The second untitled instrumental is soaked in mournful horns and a driving rain, going right into the heart of 8:45 “Liminal.” A doomy, foggy presence greets you, while the music feels somber, and a voice speaks in the distance, as if from another dimension. The vocals tear into the flesh, as the pace changes back and forth from calm to volcanic. Winds blow through like a deep winter storm, and on the other side, black metal chaos spills blood, bringing the song to a ferocious end.

Leucosis have not had a smooth path to where they are now, but they forged ahead and created this devastating monster “Liminal.” There’s a shitload of black metal out there, and it’s always hard to figure out what’s worth it and what’s not. Leucosis are the real shit, and this record should cement them as USBM warriors for years to come.

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