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Leech - The Stolen View (8/10) - Switzerland - 2007

Genre: Post Rock
Label: Viva Hate Records
Playing time: 53:04
Band homepage: Leech

Tracklist:

  1. Silent State Optimizer
  2. The Man With The Hammer
  3. Ziipfe
  4. Inspiral
  5. I Was Reversed
  6. Totem & Tabu
Leech - The Stolen View

Something I love about Post Rock is the way that it is able to convey emotion without throwing it in a listeners face with vocals and lyrics. The very nature of the genre allows for more freedom in emotions than other musical conventions, and LEECH play off this superbly well. This is shown by the first two songs from the album, with the opener being a very light hearted and transfixing melodic ghost of a track, one that doesnít rely on a climax to convey the power of the song as it comes more from the overall feeling, each melody tip-toeing across a light and airy background of noises that never really pushes itself to expand into something more. The second track, "The Man With The Hammer", is something completely different though, which it subtly hints even before "Silent State Optimizer" draws to a close with its foreboding title. Opening melodies are heavy and laborious, while still being utterly entrancing - the polar opposite of the breezy opener. In fact, the entire song feels like it could be coming from a different band, as it focuses on its big guitars that come in occasionally during brief bouts of heaviness that threaten to strangle away any emotion that comes through the subdued melodies. Compared to "Silent State Optimizer", the second track is a lumbering monster of a track, one that never lets go on its tight hold of your attention.

So when the next real track "Inspiral" comes in with similar foreboding melodies, you might expect another track that strangles and grips you like "The Man With The Hammer" did, but yet again, LEECH play with different emotions, opting this time to go for almost paranoid sprinklings of barely substantial melodies that only really gather substance in the latter half, the climax on this song is bigger than ever, and the last two minutes of guitar driven power are pure bliss. By the time the final track, "Totem & Tabu" comes along with its haunting and slightly disturbing noises youíve already been taken along a roller coaster of emotions with LEECH. Unlike their contemporaries, LEECH arenít afraid to let their music come across as slightly disjointed when it has to, they donít meticulously place every single note, and this helps "The Stolen View" keep its emotion and avoid becoming a mechanical clone of other albums before it, even when the songs sometimes lose their flow slightly, there is still the power that LEECH convey so well covering it up, and as a result, you really donít care about it. LEECH have a fantastic grasp on basic emotion and they match it with songwriting flair, I could go through every moment in detail, describing how every melody and every note successfully builds and builds onto something more, even when the climax itself isnít the key focus of the song, but thereís no need. "The Stolen View" doesnít try to be something itís not, it doesnít have any gimmicks, all it is is a great band conveying the basic principles of emotion like only the genre of Post Rock can do, and although it starts out softly and timidly, by the end the product is much more haunting and hypnotising than you would have ever expected.

(Online December 2, 2008)

Raven Blackburn



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