Have you heard of Wings of Leng? No? That’s because this Arizona-based death metal band is brand-spanking new, and over this summer I thought it would be fun to fly out to meet the guise in the band and see their studio. After telling you about the trip, I’m going to premiere for you the band’s first publicly-released song (and don’t forget which heavy metal blog brought you to their attention).
Confession time: local Disqus commenter (who happens to be one cool guy on Facebook) Scrimm has been letting me listen to Winds of Leng’s demos for almost two years now, collecting whatever honest criticisms I have been providing him regarding the music (99.9% of it was positive, you can trust me on that). Well, one evening we joked about me visiting their studio and giving them the following feedback: “NOPE”, and forcing Scrimm to listen to the entire discography of Van Halen. After the conversation I gave it some serious consideration: I could plan in advance, save some money and actually go visit them. Really! So in July 0f 2016 I flew out to Phoenix to do exactly that, and though we didn’t end up doing exactly that, it ended up being a fantastic weekend full of death metal and good times (which included watching the movie Phantasm).
After the flight to Phoenix and a short drive to the “homebase”, I was greeted by Scrimm himself who said “hey, we’re just a couple of nerds.” To which I responded, “then I should fit right in.” He introduced me to their sound guy: a tall and mellow metalhead wearing a King Diamond shirt whom I shall call Deckard (he chose to remain anonymous and that name sounds cool). The DIY studio about which I previously spoke was located in Deckard’s house, and any modesty displayed by the band members was quickly dashed away once they started detailing to me how each part of the overall process worked…
(This rack of equipment: all kits, including modules with each resistor and potentiometer hand-soldered.)
(Amps are located in the next room over.)
Winds of Leng has been a project of sorts for around 10 years; a project that the band members do consider a band, but whose fate is still being determined as we speak. There has not yet been a live performance, nor a debut album release; but the latter is definitely in the works. The upcoming weekend would entail a private listen of the band’s recorded material thus far and the chance to witness some vocal tracks being laid down for the final product.
After hearing all about the band’s history (including lineup tweaks over the years) and learning about all their gear, it was time for my private listening session. They played for me all the material recorded thus far with a sort of musicians’ commentary running alongside the music, offering quips such as “our drummer wrote this whole song by himself” or “it took months to know how to end this track.” It felt spectacular to be sitting right next to the creators who had poured so much work and effort into the thing.
These HM-2 drenched riffs contain mostly death metal DNA, but you will also hear a little black metal influence (at least the modern and melodic variation). Scrimm’s guitar is a is an LTD M330RFM, a more limited version of the M330R. Pickups are the ESP designed version of the popular EMG 81/85 pickup combo. Floyd rose special bridge. While all of the riffs are rather evil and fast, melodic tendencies that approach the realm of “catchy” will be persistent throughout the entire record. Now let’s discuss the vocals, laborious shrieks that could slice through a crowd of deathcore nerds (inspiration come from Jens Ryden, Nocturno Culto, Martin van Drunen and Dan Swano.) His agonizing screams caused me to feel a slight pain in my own throat, just imagining the torture it should be putting on one’s vocal chords. It is an exasperated death rattle delivered with one’s final breath. They’re intense!
It’s difficult to describe what sub-genre Winds of Leng fit into, and it’s going to invoke different emotions for each listener. I see them appealing to fans of classic Swedish death metal like Entombed, some of the camo shorts-wearing moshers, a good portion of melodic death metal rockers, and a fan or two who “Stays Tech“. The music doesn’t slow down, the listener isn’t granted time to help a fellow mosher back up in the pit, and there certainly are no ballads.
It is remarkable what a couple of passionate metalheads can accomplish with talent, drive, and an impressive DIY attitude. You will not be disappointed in the final album, and I will certainly keep you updated as more information becomes available. But for now, please enjoy “Audrey”: