Demo:listen: Funeral Leech

Funeral Leech are a death doom trio from New York. Somehow their demo sneaked by us here at Demo:listen, but even though it’s already a year and a half old, the sheer cataclysmic impact of our first listen to The Funereality demanded that we feature it in the column.

Like some of the best bands out there, e.g. Autopsy, Tomb Mold, Sathanas, Phil Collins, Funeral Leech’s drummer also handles vocals. Besides that, The Funereality stands out for its utterly belligerent mid-paced assault. The demo is a methodical and deliberate pummeling dealt by monstrous hands as steady as they are sadistic.

The Funereality

We caught up with Lucas and Zack, Funeral Leech’s guitarist, over this weekend past to talk about their absurdly heavy four song demo.

“Me and Zack started playing music together in my old grindcore band Grudges,” says Lucas.  “We both had a shared interest in death metal and started playing that stuff together. Eventually we brought Kevin in on bass whom I had played previously in a sludge band with. I took up vocal duties and just went with it instead of trying to find a singer.”

“After moving to NY, it took me some time to adjust before I returned to writing and playing music. I was asked to fill in on bass for Lucas’ old grindcore band, which I did for a few months. After that project disbanded in 2015, we knew we wanted to continue playing music together and we both had a love of classic death and doom metal, so Funeral Leech was born . . .

“Lucas and I started writing and practicing together in mid-2015. The original incarnation of the band included our friend RJ from Magrudergrind. RJ ultimately couldn’t commit due to time constraints, but some of his flourishes made it into the final product on the demo. Kevin came on board as our bassist in 2016, about a year after Lucas and I had started writing I think. Kevin and I had talked on and off about trying to get a death metal project started since with both lived in DC around 2010-11, but it never got off the ground and fizzled when I moved to NY and he moved to Philadelphia. When he moved back to NY, the timing finally worked out. By the time Kevin came on board, we had the demo and the single we put out earlier that year called ‘The Void’ pretty much written, so we spent some time refining everything before we ultimately recorded. The songs that made it onto the demo were a combination of material that Lucas and I wrote together as well as some riffs I had been sitting on for a few years . . .

“Our second guitarist Alex is an old friend and former bandmate of Lucas’ who joined shortly after we recorded the demo to round out our live lineup.”

Photo by Meghan McCabe.

As for the name Funeral Leech, Lucas laughs, says: “We had a bunch of names floating around in the beginning. None of them really stuck. I had a proposed name that sounded weird so we switched out both words for similar ones and Funeral Leech stuck.”

The themes behind a demo like The Funereality are revealed in its very name. A conflation of funereal and reality, the funereality could mean many things, but each meaning bears a sobering gravitas.

“Most, if not all of my lyrics deal with struggles of depression and mental illness,” admits Lucas. “I’d hope someone can relate to my lyrics in the same way I related to several of my favorite metal bands.”

Zack agrees, saying: “Death metal is much more than riffs, growls, gore, or a fucking HM-2. Death metal taps into something dark, primal, and unbound by social convention or material reality. I hope Funeral Leech invokes this in some measure.”

Funeral Leech went to their friend Travis Bacon’s studio Chapel Black to record the four songs that would eventually become The Funereality demo.

“Travis Bacon . . . is basically like a brother to me We’ve been friends for over half our lives at this point, and it’s always great to work with him on something musically. He has a great general idea on the direction and sound we’d like, and helps push us in the studio to achieve that.

Photo by Meghan McCabe.

“All in all it took two days for the whole thing to be recorded,” Lucas remembers. “We did drums first and then worked on from there. I did vocals the next day. It was a very fun process and overall my favorite time I’ve ever recorded something.”

“We gave Travis a few production notes but as we were still finding our sound at the time we let everything develop pretty organically,” Zack says. “Ultimately we were very happy with the result but we have also grown significantly since that release.”

While the demo was originally released with only the first three songs, the song “The Void,” which was recorded during the same session anyway, has been included on a tape reissue.

“The demo was initially released by the band and then eventually re-released by an awesome German label Testimony Records to include ‘The Void,’” Zack explains.

Lucas says that they released  “The Void” later “to bridge the gap between the demo and the next release.”

Zack calls it a “sort of a transition between what we put on the demo and where we are going [for] on our LP.”

“We recorded the demo in March of 2017 and played our first show that July,” he continues. “Since then, we’ve been concentrating on getting our live ritual where we want it and for the last few months we’ve been writing for an LP.”

Which is what Funeral Leech are up to currently. According to Lucas, they’re “in the process of writing an LP.”

“We self-recorded a promo of a few new songs to send out to labels. So hopefully you’ll be hearing more about us soon.”

Demo:listen says: Release that promo to the people!