Review: Locust Leaves – A Subtler Kind Of Light

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One of the things about following a toilet-fetish metal blog day in, day out, is that you start to become overwhelmed with new music. I, like many Toileteers, have a backlog of music of various subgenres that I sincerely mean to get to, but I get home from work and play a gazillion hours of Overwatch instead. Inevitably, I end up making a lot of quick judgements about material that deserve deeper listens. Too often I hear good black or death metal and neglect it simply because of the overfamiliarity. Between yelling at my cats, the weather, sports, video games, and the Dipshit-In-Chief, I’m too busy and angry to devote proper time to new music unless it really grabs my attention. With that, let me tell you why I cannot stop jamming the first official full-length, A Subtler Kind of Light, from progressive black/thrash/hard-to-generically-define band, Locust Leaves.

Just a glimpse at the above lyric sheet tells you this is a unique project. You can laugh at me for judging a book by it’s cover, but a little bit of eccentricity and effort go a long way toward drawing my attention. Locust Leaves is primarily a duo, with the bulk of the recording done by multi-instrumentalist Helm and vocalist Nick K. However, the help the two received, from drummer Archon Vorskaath (Zemial) and guitarist Ayloss (Spectral Lore), makes a big difference on the album. Ayloss’ guitar leads are especially worthy of praise. The artwork, lyric sheet, and album description made it clear that this album required a more nuanced listen, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect.

Helm describes the album as being “about transmutation,” or a type of shifting into a different state or form. In the context of the album’s themes, Helm appears to be referring to a spiritual transmutation related to ancient Greek beliefs. It’s difficult to decipher, but I’m of the opinion that, although the album is very conceptual, Helm’s description serves more to establish an overarching theme than tell a contained narrative. There are only four tracks, each with only a single-word English title alongside its Greek translation (if you’re starting to catch a theme, these guys are from Greece). The tracks are on the longer side, but with only four of them the album ends up being a little over a half-hour long. Sure, it’s a quick one, but that allows each track to be strong. No fillers.

Depending on your feelings regarding the strictness of genre and subgenre tags, there might be a quibble over whether the album is more in the black or death camp. The band itself uses the term “progressive black thrash,” but I tend to land more on the death side. There’s no denying, however, that it is progressive. Further, the production gives it an old-school feel that many members of the toilet are bound to love. If you’re a fan of Individual Thought Patterns era Death, or perhaps the thrashier Coroner, then you absolutely cannot skip Locust Leaves. The production really allows for the songs to feel dynamic, giving the thrash parts a lot of power but allowing the ambient sections to blend-in and make you want to listen more closely. The guitar tone is sharp and the riffs start and stop suddenly, sometimes thrashy and sometimes a weird and military-march sounding mid-tempo. Nick K’s vocal performance is a bizarre delight. At times he has the nasally tones of Faith No More‘s Mike Patton (albeit pretty much entirely in the baritone range), but then he’ll mutter some layered and cryptic passages or growl his way through a more blackened-thrash section. The album is full of these types of twist and turns, but keeps returning to catchy riffs and hooks that will make you want to put it on repeat.

All in all, it’s a pretty damn fine release and the band’s effort shows. My only true complaint is the length. Like I said, there’s no filler. Even though the last track is a six-minute ambient outro, I felt it fit thematically and it managed to keep my attention. Still, I wanted more. Not much more, but certainly more. Thus, even if I felt all the songs were great, it leaves a bit to be desired. It’s still awesome, especially given that it’s the band’s first official release. I’ll be excited to hear more from them, and they could become a favorite if they keep it up. Yep.

4.5 OUT OF 5 HELLISH TOILETS OV THE VOID BE FLAMIN’

 

Locust Leaves’ A Subtler Kind of Light is out March 17th on I, Voidhanger Records. Check out an exclusive track premiere over at the awesome Invisible Oranges to get yourself stoked.

Images (via) (via)

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  • GL

    I will say that they are sure a neat blend of many different things. Coolio.

    Thanks Rusty.

    GL

  • tigeraid

    I’m not gonna lie, my eyes immediately went to the severed penis.

    • “Hmm, in-ter-est-ing…”

      -Sigmund Freud

      • Hans Moleman

        Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. This is not one of those times.

        • “Sometimes a cigar is just a severed penis.”

          -Richter, 2/19/2017, 10:25 AM

          • GL

            “Sometimes you all need to stop talking about wieners.”

            -GL, 02/24/2017, 12:28PM ET

            *lights a cigar*

          • GL

            I was kidding guis. COME ON. ITS FRIDAY. /whips head back and forth. Lets friggin party already!

          • GL
          • GL
          • GL

            /get it
            /get it
            /get it
            /get it
            /oh yeah
            /oh yeah
            /oh yeah
            /oh yeah
            https://media.giphy.com/media/TENvWN9RFXxf2/giphy.gif

          • GL
          • Howard Dean
          • GL

            That is a cute kid.

          • Howard Dean

            But she can’t catch for shit!

          • GL

            If she could catch the ball, then she would not be as cute.

          • Howard Dean

            Maybe not, but if she could catch it at least she’d get that damn college scholarship! Now her parents are going to have to pay $200K out-of-pocket for her gender studies degree at Vassar. Fuck!

            (Sidenote: Vassar is a D-III school and doesn’t give athletic scholarships)

          • GL

            #1 perk for working at a University is free tuition for your kids. Up to like 7 of them.

          • Howard Dean

            That’s fucking baller, especially if you work at a good school. I can’t believe they will give free tuition to that many kids. That’s pretty clutch.

            I bet BYU and Utah State have a 14-15 kid policy. Haha.

          • GL

            Fortunately it is a good school, it is just not a very blue collar school, which I will have to get over, promptly.

          • Howard Dean

            As long as it has a strong curriculum (particularly in STEM), good reputation, and solid placement into competitive industries and professional/graduate schools, I would say you are golden.

            I am from a very blue collar background and went to an extremely non-blue collar school for undergrad (a fairly fussy school New England). I didn’t lose my roots but certainly gained a better understanding of how the rest of the world works (read: culture shock). I’m a lot better off for it, though.

          • GL

            Indeed!

          • Rain Poncho W.

            I applied for a faculty job at both of those schools, and as far as I know haven’t been trimmed from the hiring pool yet.

            BYU has an insane honor code, though.

          • GL

            How is the wife’s search coming?? You all know yet??

          • Rain Poncho W.

            She submitted her match list this week, so we’ll find out where we’re going on March 17th.

          • GL

            Excellent. Three weeks will go fast.

            Detroit still on that list?? Didn’t you say you applied at Oakland or something?

          • Rain Poncho W.

            I don’t think Detroit is on the list anymore. I’ve applied all over, but it may all be moot in three weeks, haha.

          • Howard Dean

            Medical residency placements? Those are pretty crazy. Your next 4-6 years (and potentially forever) is at the mercy of the placement committees.

          • Rain Poncho W.

            Yup. She’s going to be doing a three-year residency in internal medicine and maybe a 1-2 year residency in critical care after that. She’s a very competitive candidate, so I’d be surprised if she didn’t land one of her top three, but it can be pretty wild how it all pans out. One of my mentors ended up out here in West Texas due to a surprise match.

          • GL

            Is she from Texas? Obviously it will not matter in the end, just interested. . .

          • Rain Poncho W.

            She is. Dallas is on the list, but not at the top.

          • GL

            Sweet! Keep us in the loop.

          • Rain Poncho W.

            I will! Y’all definitely won’t be the first to know, hahaha, but I’ll definitely be sharing when we see where we’re going.

          • GL

            Really? I mean… internet acquaintances has to be like… right below grandparents on your list… right? Come on.

          • Doom Scientist

            I know. WTF?! : (

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            *fingers crossed bby*

          • Howard Dean

            I’ve known a few people (old classmates) who got completely thrown for a loop with their placement and ended up where they didn’t want to be. But you gotta do what you gotta do in ultra-competitive industries like medicine.

          • Rain Poncho W.

            Yah, it’s definitely a bit nerve-wracking. Thankfully, with my training I could work for a consulting firm or a research group or a city government if we end up somewhere without an academic opening. Right now we’re placing the emphasis on her career because ultimately she’ll be making more money and getting really good training.

          • Howard Dean

            You’re a good dude to be flexible like that. I know that residencies and placement can be particularly hard on couples/families, and generally it’s everyone else besides the resident that has to make the concessions. The training stages of doctor-hood are decidedly inflexible for the doctor.

          • Rain Poncho W.

            Thanks for that! It’s just a matter of keeping focus on the bigger picture, I guess.

          • Howard Dean

            I read that as just “wife search” at first and I was like “But isn’t Dubz already married? Dang, he must be really serious about those jobs in Utah!”

          • Rain Poncho W.

            I just resisted the urge to make the obvious Utah joke. I think I deserve a cookie.

          • Howard Dean

            Yeah, I know they are extremely no-nonsense at BYU. They run pretty much the tightest ship/cleanest campus in the country (I think even moreso than the military academies, which is crazy).

            BYU also produces an insane amount of highly successful professionals–they have heavier representation (compared to their peer schools) in top positions within high finance, law, etc.

          • I was taking a shower. I am back now.

          • GL

            Don’t ever do that again.

          • “You smell. Take a shower.”
            “But GL said I can’t.”
            “Oh. Carry on, then.”

          • GL

            So you understand then, good.

            lol

          • Sir Ukkometso The Based

            *whips penis back and forth
            FTFY

          • RJA

            Reposted Richter?

          • Written and reposted simultaneously. How? SCIENCE.

  • “Overfamiliarity.” I like that explanation of genre fatigue better than “oversaturation”. A wealth of new music is an objectively good thing. When we’re feeling overwhelmed, the problem most likely isn’t the market–it’s us.

    Anyway, catching a bit of a Simen Haestnes vibe off this vocalist. Brain-bending stuff.

  • Rain Poncho W.

    It seems to me that the black bleeds through primarily in the Hellenistic influence. The way those riffs surge and swell at the end with triumphant glory is very Nocternity.

  • Joaquin Stick

    This is super weird. I like weird. I like you. Thanks Rustoleum. I’ll have to set a reminder for this one.

    • GL

      omg that is awesome. Rustoleum. !

  • HOLY SHIT, dat song over at Invisible Oranges…

  • Waynecro

    I am intrigued by your excellent review and the single song I’ve heard from the album. Thanks, man!