Review Summary: They are the same. Their tongues, their spines.
Riding on the coattails of last year’s extremely potent EP, Nothing Will Grow From The Rotten Ground
, Leeched gives the spectators little time to recover from the first bout of nihilistic devastation by going all out with this fully realised full-length album. 2018 has been an impressive year for up-and-coming metal bands, who don’t seem to politely open the front door for recognition as they do blow the thing off its damned hinges. There’s been a lot of metal music coming out, but I’ve struggled to come to terms with most of it conveying complacency and stagnation. This, of course, doesn’t apply to the underground scenes which appear hellbent on reminding the more successful bands what hunger feels like – and honestly, Leeched are at the forefront of this resurgence. You Took The Sun When You Left
is an impenetrable fortress of hopeless despondency, though its mainstay sound is set around the wrathful speed of grind and the lawlessness attitude of hardcore, it has the same downcast pessimism and aesthetic an early Godflesh record would have; a looming shadow of smog-filled industrial air chiefly coating the vividly ominous wreckage. But where Godflesh takes its time in unravelling the chaos, Leeched moves in like a million wrecking balls.
The album’s first single, “Guilt”, is a captivating promotional track that highlights the key selling points to this LP. The intermittent flow from the cavernous, effects-laden vocals serves as the biggest piece of evidence to my Godflesh comparison, but in choosing this approach it intensifies the song significantly: it leaves pockets of air for the violent snare pops, chunky drum kicks and droning guitars with scratchy feedback effects to do the majority of the lifting here, and ultimately leads to some pretty distinct results. From a compositional angle the track is just as engaging, primarily down to its bulking swing and tasteful use of cutting out guitars for the drums to have spastic outbursts before slamming back into gear again. I’ll admit, I’m enamoured by the songwriting here: the impulsive tempo changes, that speed up and slow down at a moment’s notice, bend and twist the dynamic of songs, subverting a lot of initial expectations; the handling on making songs sound heavy comes so naturally – the opening riff to “A Mouth Full Of Dirt” or “Cripple The Herd” holds a gargantuan amount of pummelling energy and breakneck ferocity without sounding forced; and their open-minded approach to experimentation is a welcoming change of pace to the mainstay wrecking ball riffs and outlandish tempos, offering evocative instrumentals that set the dismal tone here perfectly. I could go on, but suffice it to say this record offers a lot of really unique characteristics that go beyond the measures of sounding like your run-of-the-mill hardcore record, standing above and beyond the competition in the process.
That said, I can’t ignore a good chunk of my enjoyment for this project comes from its superb production. Tracks are so densely compact and busy you couldn’t possibly squeeze anything else into them. The super compressed, fuzzy bass and dynamic drums work synergistically to create a claustrophobically grim atmosphere, while Judd paints over these intense explosions with gnashing riffs, feedback squeals and a playing style that is both intricate, yet caters to the whims of any given track to deliver optimum effects. But the versatile production does more than just sound heavy
, it knows how to keep up with Leeched’s frantic style of writing. The abrasive electronics on here further the experience and add another layer of carnage and unease to these nuclear numbers. Hearing “Hollow-Point Weddings” revolver-cylinder spinning clicks in the backburner of the track before shifting into the forefront gives off an exciting buzz of discomfort, yet simultaneously ties up the song perfectly. It’s little elements like this that stop You Took The Sun When You Left
from ever becoming formulaic or tired. Silence is also a subtle – yet essential – ingredient as well, and doesn’t go unnoticed. There’s a schizophrenic element to all of the songwriting here. You’ll have abrupt stops – lightning-quick gaps that reveal a glimpse into the eye of the storm – where an instrument will go solo for but a note or two and then charge back into the fray again, or Laurie will let out a booming scream to introduce the next part of the track; it’s extremely effective writing that delivers a powerful punch but keeps things constantly moving forward.
It’s difficult trying to review You Took The Sun When You Left
without me sounding like I’m gushing, but believe me when I say, this is easily one of the finest metal albums of 2018. It’s unique, punishingly heavy and mingles a string of well executed styles and influences in a way that makes this LP effortlessly enticing. It’s consistent, atmospheric and throws countless curve balls into the works, ensuring you’re always alert when spinning this thing. Most importantly, it’s a stunning debut album that displays a scintillating future ahead, and should not be missed.
PACKAGING: Grey w/black splatter vinyl; standard cover sleeve.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A
ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://leeched.bandcamp.com/releases