It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from Leng Tch’e. The Belgium self-proclaimed razor-grinders have been brutalizing ears since the 2001. But it’s possible the band has passed you by, especially if you’re only a casual grinder. Their debut album Death by a Thousand Cuts (read: self-titled) in 2002 is a must hear. The catalog fluctuates from there, for me anyway. And now Razorgrind is here.
If I had to take a guess as to why Leng Tch’e picked Razorgrind for their return after seven-years, I’d say it’s because they wanna cut straight to the point. Like their name and most of grindcore, Leng Tch’e almost always does away with the bull. And Razorgrind is an album that mostly doesn’t play around. It’s heavy and incredibly fast. Just take opener “Gundog Allegiance” for example. It’s like a machine gun. A quick burst that breaks up into some groove, and then gets back to blasting.
Leng Tch’e is often either heavy or fast, however. The band doesn’t always play it both ways. Razorgrind doesn’t play around, like I said, but it does vary its assault. Tracks like “AnarChristic” just blow things out of the water. The speed, the punk beat—it’s the kind of track that shows some teeth. Meanwhile, tracks like “Cirrhosis” deathgrind their play times away. The track bounces with catchy riffs and a good breakdown that doesn’t bring things to too much of a stop. “I Am the Vulture” displays one of their best forays into death metal/grind goodness though. Heaviness, speed and some excellent guitar work keep the song interesting as the band seethes all along the way.
The band does play a slower game, as they have in the past. Leng Tch’e, despite the “razor grind” self-titling, does let things simmer. Tracks like “Redundant” slow things down and let the band prepare for another attack. However, “The Red Pill” starts with a slower pace, builds into some speed, but comes down from it rather quick, never picking up too much steam.
The final track “Magellanic Shrine” goes through a lot of motions. Fire from heavy, to melodic, to death metal and then back to something slower. And at six-and-a-half-minutes, the track is the most ambitious piece on the album. Certainly one of the best pieces Leng Tch’e has ever written.
Razorgrind is a good album, but it can have a numbing effect. There were plenty of listens were I simply forgot where I was amongst the fourteen-tracks. The album is formulaic and while the musicianship is great, only sometimes to individual instruments really stand out and pop. But one could argue that the band work more as a cohesive whole, hence the blend effect.
Razorgrind is a solid album, and I recommend it, especially for its final two tracks. Hell, I’d argue Razorgrind is the best thing Leng Tch’e has done since Sven de Caluwé dropped off in 2007. It’s been seven-years and Leng Tch’e have produced a good album. No frills or wasted time. Just some of their good, old grindcore.