Review: “You Took the Sun When You Left” by Leeched

Having witnessed Manchester Hardcore trio Leeched deliver a skull crushing performance at UK Tech-Fest this summer, it seemed only fitting that we review their debut full length album which appeared on 24th August via Prosthetic Records. Formed in 2017, the band have made great strides in a short space of time and “You took the Sun when you left” also uses the same team that helped record the bands EP “Nothing will grow from the rotten ground” Joe Clayton (Producer and Mixer, Pijn and former Old Skin guitarist) and Brad Boatright (Masterer, From Ashes Rise guitarist and vocalist).

“Cripple The Heard” is an ugly, raw 86 second opening tune which barks from behind it’s fence like a Pitbull on a leash just waiting to get free for a second. It carries weight an menace with industrial undertones, think Godflesh or Earache-era Pitchshifter. As an opener, it has plenty of punch but just as it gets going, it’s cut off in it’s prime with it chunky bass and vocals which care are as caustic as they come. Similarly, “Rope” bursts into 66 seconds of grindcore life with a ferocious pace and whirlwind blast beats before stopping on a dime after 28 seconds and then delivering a slower groove. “The Stone And The Steel” starts off very much like a 2000’s era Hardcore track, the sort of thing that the likes of Integrity would be proud of before slowing down to into a downtempo breakdown. It’s another short sharp shock of a track. “By The Factories” is the first tune to cross the 3 minute boundary, which gives you an indication of the type of material that Leeched produce. There is very little fat on the bone, caustic vocals overlay pummelling kit work and downtuned bludgeoning guitars.

“Guilt” is a another longer song at just shy of 3 minutes, it’s stark and bleak industrial undertones, like blood in the water, disperse as the guitar work comes to the fore with scratches and pitch harmonics used to break up the grinding rhythms rather than any form of solo or lead part. The momentum of the darkness continues with suitably nihilistic lyrics and perhaps a touch of Iron Monkey in their sound. “A Mouth Full Of Dirt” takes a left turn with some thrash-y opening riffs, delivered at pace and showing something a bit loser than some of the more dense and claustrophobic earlier material. The tempo slows down mid-song and delivers instead some thunderous tones that bring it to a close, returning to the earlier density and weight of sound. “Born In Sand” is a mid-album atmospheric piece that brings to mind the pair of closing tracks from the recently released and reviewed Jesus Piece album, sparse in every sense of the word. Dark and atmospheric guitars with oceans of feedback and reverb, the occasional indistinguishable echoed out single word and drum fill. And then it suddenly bursts into life with the follow up “Raised By Lead” which “Born In Sand” only serves to introduce. Out of the gate with blast beats, a thunderous roar and a battering ram of a swirling riff, it’s a power house of driven intensity. There are a couple of pause moments for atmosphere, the second of which, gives a mid-track breather as the guitar and drum slowly build into the second half of the song which has a fade in – out quality to it. The separation of the tracks may seem odd to some but they would have worked really well either as an opening or closing pair as well.

Following the mastery of the previous pair of songs comes “Hollow-Point Weddings” which starts well, but doesn’t fit as well after the 28 second opening salvo. Some of the intensity of the sound has been lost on the song and while it has a nice rise and fall in places, it’s slow grind mid section isn’t up to the previous quality. The guitars seem to be lost in a muddier mix during this phase and while the latter portion brings back the dark menace, it doesn’t do enough to save the song. “Harrow the Pastures” is the longest song on the album, at nearly 6 minutes, which for a band of this raw hardcore sound is ambitious to say the least. It’s a tale of two halves however, while the first lives up to the first half of the album with it some quality riffs, pounding drum work and throat shredding vocals, the second half disappears into what can only be described as ambient guitars, feedback and noise. It’s good noise, but it’s like the guitarist has dropped his guitar on the amp and it’s been left to swirl out. Great at the end of a show as everyone is piling out but not so great after several listens to the album. Fortunately, Leeched save the best to last with album title track “You Took The Sun When You Left”. Returning to the pummelling and gargantuan structures, the apocalypse is witnessed as the Mancunian bleakness unfolds. There is no doubt that this is a solid debut [7/10].

Track listing;

  1. Cripple The Heard
  2. Rope
  3. The Stone And The Steel
  4. By The Factories
  5. Guilt
  6. A Mouth Full Of Dirt
  7. Born In Sand
  8. Raised By Lead
  9. Hollow-Point Weddings
  10. Harrow the Pastures
  11. You Took The Sun When You Left

“You Took the Sun When You Left” by Leeched is out now via Prosthetic Records and available over at bandcamp.

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