For me, hardcore is one of those styles that whilst crude on the surface is not uniform and has a lot to offer. It would be too posh to call it a genre. Anger and energy stand at the centre. You can express your fury about humanity, politics, relationships or whatever you want. You can introduce other styles so long as you sound pissed off, and everyone listening reflects in the anger. It’s very much a live experience. Leeched’s take on all this is that “the dark, bleak and brutal tracks are set atop of today’s despairing and desolate industrialised landscape”.

This breaks down in weighty heaviness almost before it’s started. Crashing thunder suggests deathly brutality. It’s a pleasant diversion from what might be considered a hardcore template. Ok, pleasant isn’t perhaps the right word. Volleys of growly brutality vomit forth, broken up by frequent breaks. Leeched punish us with controlled depths and distortions. It’s a dark and violent world indeed. We get a whole 3 minutes on “Factories”, a grey and merciless slab of bludgeoning heaviness. The lyrics are suitably nihilistic. There’s an echo in the vocals, which go nicely with the chainsaw massacre surrounding them. The tempo is on the ponderous end, ensuring that we bleed to death slowly. Leeched, who come from Manchester, grind us down entertainingly on “Guilt” before picking up the pace on “A Mouthful of Dirt”. Fuzzy sparks fly as ever but the riff line is exciting before it slows down and we are back in the cesspool grinding our way through dark and weighty scenes. The intensity is impressive. Suddenly we find ourselves in a dark chasm. The bleak guitar and the vocalist sound distant. “Born in Sand” is funereal. Its backbone is the obscurity and power of the soundscape. This is like being in one of those chaotic post apocalyptic worlds. One piece of neatly crafted punishment follows another. Drums crash as “Hollow-Point Weddings” pound down. It’s too heavy for nuances like shape, but there is a progression in all this anarchic weightiness. “The springs are tainted, the wells are dry, the frail sewers are cracked, the waters gone with the wells and the tracks”. This is the Mancunian world of Leeched. As if to press the point home, “Harrow the Pastures” pummels us into the ground some more and sends into turmoil with its long psychedelic cacophony of broken down and flying industrial parts. Normal pounding is resumed with the title track. The chords get bigger like a post metal crescendo, and given the sheer bleakness of the overall soundscape, that’s appropriate.

“You Took The Sun When You Left” is, as its title suggests, the essence of darkness. It is at the extreme end of extreme. There is no mercy but there is plenty of gargantuan structures and sonic interest here.

(8/10 Andrew Doherty)