They Leapt From Burning Windows- “Slash Your Flesh, Drink to Death”

They Leapt From Burning Windows

The year is 2015. The thin black metal demo lacking any bass frequencies seems to be a thing of the past in this age of advanced recording technology that allows almost anybody with a smartphone or laptop computer to produce a basic song. For those of us who came into the genre and found ourselves crafting an understanding by delving through murky tapes and awful audio rips on the internet, there’s something to be said for this increasingly rare experience. Imagine my surprise, then, when a demo on bandcamp popped up in my inbox and sent me right back to that place of lo-fi, tinny discovery. While a band named They Leapt From Burning Windows seems like it should be more equipped to join the Sumerian Records roster, this Alaskan collective’s work is entirely removed from modern trend. The Slash Your Flesh, Drink to Death demo wears its LLN inspirations plainly, with hints of late nineties/early aughts USBM in the mix.

As a nod to demo tradition, this recording was done live, although this band is either highly coordinated or gave these demos multiple takes, as everything is delivered precisely despite its rawness. With lyrics fixating on the miserable mental constipation of American society and humanity’s self-absorption in the face of a world with so much promise, it’s fitting that this sounds so wholly misanthropic. I also need to note that while very thin in production, there’s little to no difficulty in actually identifying what They Leapt From Burning Windows is doing from moment to moment, possibly because the band is acting as a two-piece here with no extra padding. Drums, vocals, and guitar all attack at maximum capacity, but there is still enough space in the recording for the listener to make sense of it, which is important when a band clearly has something to say.

The drumming is of particular interest on this recording, often carrying the songs in strange yet organic directions. Blasts often give way to half-paced moments of emptiness, with cymbals all but removed from the mix, placing the focus on the well executed tom work and the occasional ride hit. There are often well placed gaps in the drumming which allow the vocals to really come to the front, which can be something of a rarity in music of this nature. The vocals aren’t necessarily unique or distinctive, but with a mix of shrill screaming and the occasional hoarse yell, they fit the bill nicely. The riffs are memorable and switch from more modern melodies that one would expect from USBM to the ferocity of second-wave black metal aggression often in the course of a few bars of music. The components of They Leapt From Burning Windows’ music may sound slightly disparate, but it’s the fusion of tradition and occasional elements of modernity that make Slash Your Flesh, Drink to Death such a well-rounded and intriguing listen.

The band is releasing fifty copies of this demo on cassette tape for those who seek the true demo sensation that can only be grasped in analog formats. For the rest of the world, there are bandcamp downloads at the price you see fit, enabling anybody to appreciate this release. This isn’t going to be an instant hit with everyone, but those who like to sift through the demo circuit for true gems will find a new favorite here.