Seven years is not an eternity when it comes to recording hiatus. However in the extreme metal world where bands blast out releases like pustules bursting on a leprous back, the time since Leng Tch’e released Hypomaniac has certainly stretched the patience of their fans.
The Belgians have returned with the aptly named Razorgrind – their second full length release with Serge Kasongo handling vocals. Razorgrind is 14 tracks of death/grind injected with moments of sludge and psychedelia. This is no “blast through in 20 minutes” affair. Leng T’che change gears to allow for more groove and textures to counter balance the grindage. Opener “Gundog Allegiance” and “Indomitable” that follow it mix up Primate/ Venomous Concept punky grind with bassy sludge riffs to great effect whilst “Cibus” is Death metal meets mid-career S.T. The dual vocals – add extra bite and on “Spore” bring to mind Raging Speedhorn’s recent release.
The fact that Leng T’che have decided not to rest on their laurels and experiment with other elements means that each track is distinguishable from the others immediately. With many Grind releases I find myself immersed in the feel of the album and carried along on a wave of aggression with a couple of tracks jumping out. That approach appeals to me. I like the wall of noise. I like getting lost in the mayhem. “Razorgrind” does not do this and it is at once its fault and its saving grace. The changes of pace in “Stentor of Doom” “Redundant”, the filthy swampy doom of Magellenic Shrine kept me guessing throughout.
“Guinea Swine” is the real head turn track for me. Opening like a melodic pop metal track before going all Industrial riffs ??? What the actual fuck? You could hardcore dance to it too. You know proper spin kick kung-fu in the pit arse quackery. There is even a beat down of sorts – albeit smeared in grinding vocals. When “Cirrhosis” blasts in afterwards I am still reeling but soon give in to a massive slab of death metal riffage.
Penultimate track “I am the Vulture” mixes martial bets with blasts. Hardcore roars with Carcass rasps and an absolute behemoth of a riff to end on. This is Grind Jim but not as we know it. The segue into the frankly epically length (6:37) “Magellenic Shrine” is seemless and that aforementioned massive riff becomes the seething sludge bastard that I hinted at earlier. Leng Tch’e throw in some punk bursts in as well as a few discordant passages to make this finale a blind terrifying escape through treacherous marshland. Then, a bright as the moon guitar line shoots up like a distress flare.
Razorgrind is what Leng Tch’e call their style and if this is what it has become then I for one am up for a close shave.
(7.5/10 Matt Mason)