Leng Tch'e - Hypomanic
Season Of Mist
14 songs (41:20)
Release year: 2010
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

Although at first glance seeming like a mere by-product of the Relapse grind revolution of a few years ago, Belgian ‘razorgrind’ crew Leng Tch’e have made more of a unique sound for themselves, building on the impressive Marasmus of three years ago to come up with the possibly even better Hypomanic. In many ways the band succeed at modernising the relentless underground Grind sound in a way that countrymen Aborted utterly failed at – rather than follow a similar route of diluting the core sound and throwing in other genres, Leng Tch’e have built upon the genre’s basic building blocks in subtle ways to create a mass appeal madness all of their own. There’s no lessening of Grind’s pulverising power, no strange Melodeath elements jarring with its essential brute force – instead, Leng Tch’e have added slower and groovier parts to the mix, bringing the fine art of songwriting home and introducing it to its mad uncles Grunt and Blast. The results are great, proving that you don’t have to gut extreme metal in order to improve it; there’s actually not a massive amount of distance between this and some of Napalm Death’s recent material, something Barney Greenway clearly agrees with as his typically coruscating guest performance on Totalitarian here proves.

Yet Leng Tch’e are very much their own band, as much of a debt as they (and every Metal band that plays faster than Slayer) owe to the godfathers of grind. Fine, the aforementioned Totalitarian rips along like a deranged bulldog, Barney’s rabid bark contrasting well with Serge Kasongo’s deeper grunt, but it’s a drop in a finely-tuned ocean of quality. Opener Wirehead Imbeciles goes straight for the throat, deep, subtly technical riffing grabbing your attention immediately and keeping it through several tempo changes and an expert breakdown, and from then on the band are on fire, the following A.Men following seamlessly in the same manner without actually being repetitive. It’s interesting to see that, although guitarist Jan Hallaert is skilled, he never makes a fuss about it, incorporating his technical playing into the band’s overall style and bringing plenty of great riffs to the table. Elsewhere, drummer Tony Van der Eynde turns his blasts and fills on at the turn of a tap, following the guitar closely but never overpowering it – the production is great, Russ Russell earning his chips as usual.

Especially worth mentioning is the catchy moment on The Stockholm Malevolence Project where the band slip into mid-pace for a jaunty, almost Hard Rocking section – it’s just one of many songwriting oddities which make perfect sense and enhance the listen to no end. There aren’t many dips in speed, for the most part the band living up to the ‘razor’ part of their styling as much as the ‘grind’, and there are many, many highlights. Refined Torture is a personal favourite, groovy riffs assaulting the listener from all sides and building into a genuinely oppressive crusher, whilst the brief switch to Sludginess on the following Misleading Innuendos is well-placed. A strangely unnerving atmosphere is unearthed on Death’s Head Cockroach, fitting in perfectly with the neck-aching riffing, whilst there’s some genius usage of organs in Violence Does Even Justice. It’s hard not to write about every track – the technical weirdness that opens Corrosive Rotgut is excellent, and nine-minute closer Perfervid Odyssey beats a very compelling path through the grind undergrowth, slowing down to a crawl and speeding up to lightspeed intensity, and actually being nine minutes long rather than ending in an annoying few minutes’ silence like many bands seem to enjoy. Hypomanic is certainly an album that’s worth returning to again and again, complex enough to warrant acclamations of depth and instantaneous enough for any Grinder worth their salt to get their freak on. Recommended.

Killing Songs :
Wirehead Imbeciles, The Stockholm Malevolence Project , Refined Torture, Death’s Head Cockroach, Totalitarian, Silence Is Better Than Unmeaning Words, Corrosive Rotgut, Perfervid Odyssey
Goat quoted 85 / 100
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