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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Sludge: LEECHMILK

Plaudits for bands that carve their own paths are seldom in short order. Sure, there's much to be said for doing things your own way and sticking to your greasy guns. Atlanta's Leechmilk, however, entered a thicket so riddled with thorns that keeping up with them often resulted in a bloody fucking mess. Today's Sunday Sludge highlights a band thick and dark enough to give you a twitch and give your family a guarded approach.

It's been damn near a decade since Leechmilk last played, but the sores are still raw. In their far-too-brief existence ('96 to '01), the band took an avenue that even the crustiest sludge enthusiast would find unnerving. Themes of hatred and death perfectly complemented the weathered plug of slow, mangy rhythms and Dan Caycedo's cauterized growls.

Leechmilk themselves released their 2000 demo Worthless, while that same year saw Starvation of Locusts cement the band's status as grinding malcontents that cared nothing for what the world thought. Fast-forward ten years and Leechmilk still ooze disdain and make you forget other bands that sound, by comparison, just far too sunny. You don't wanna soil your couch, so make sure you scrub those hard to reach places after listening.

Just before crawling to their demise, Leechmilk's stripped-down, straightforward brand of hanging moss appeared to be picking up steam. A split with Sofa King Killer (Guilty of Sloth/Crusty Mother Fuckn Rock and Roll) on Tee Pee Records held promise of a broader audience, while whispers of the band's emotional and intimate live shows had spread far beyond the south. Sadly, Leechmilk disbanded shortly after and left fans wishing more bands followed the blueprint.

You may need a flathead shovel to dig up the band's material (or even a damn photo), but the blisters are worth it. In an era where sounds are more watered-down than ever, rewinding to Leechmilk's foul sludge contribution seems to effectively accompany winter's lament. The ground is frozen, cabin fever is inevitable, and you're running low on both patience and booze. You can't be sure if this band is the solution to your misery or just another contributing factor. But you won't be able to pull yourself away from it.

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