Leach are a Swedish band that have been tagged with the thrash metal label, but their sound actually isn’t really what you would expect when hearing that. Hymns For The Hollow is built rhythmically on thrash metal riffs, but there are other things that draw it out of that territory. For one, there are some clear instances of hardcore thrown in, as well as rock ‘n roll licks that are made a lot heavier. It also uses a guitar tone pretty atypical of this style and is more fitting for the big groove metal outbreak in the ‘90s.
The best thing that jumps out about this album is how well everything is layered. “The Prey” sneaks fret happy melodies into the background of the main riffs and the chorus, which gives it a lot to look out for and keeps it from being too stagnant. Of course, that is already prevented with the use of melodic tones that occasionally shift into a crunchier territory. “End Of An Era” also has some of the tightest grooves on here, as the song’s classic sounding makeup shines very brightly.
Unfortunately, there are a few things that hold this back. The vocals are well executed and somewhat reminiscent of Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, but they have a little too much of that “tough guy” persona to them, making them hard to take seriously at times. Some of the playing can also get sloppy at times, such as in “Do It” where everything meshes together too much, defeating the purpose of the layering that I mentioned as being pulled off well on other songs.
The title track at the end certainly throws a curveball, as it’s all soft instrumentation with synths, topped by the shouted vocals. It’s toned down to sound like it’s coming from a distance, so I can say that it was a different approach at the very least. However you want to label this, it’s a neat hybrid of tunes that are certainly memorable but have a few things that shackle it down some.
Hymns For The Hollow is a self-released album set to come out on January 18th, 2019 in physical and digital formats, available on Spotify, Itunes, or by contacting the band via email or Facebook.