Belgian maniacs Leng Tch’e have been dishing out their aggressive, self-proclaimed “razorgrind” sound for nearly a decade. Through numerous label switches and line-up changes, the band has seen it all only to grow even stronger than before. With each release the band continues to turn the chaos up a notch or fifty and the fans remain just as rabid. Leng Tch’e’s fifth full-length, Hypomanic, is the first with vocalist Serge Kasongo and brings forth a new, powerful chapter in the band’s continuing growth. Forbidden Magazine was recently able to check in with Leng Tch’e bassist, Nicolas, who gave the following insights into the new record, the current state of extreme music, gruesome torture rituals and more!
Hi there. Leng Tch’e was formed in 2001 by (former) members of Aborted, Anal Torture and Dark Ages. Over the years we’ve released 5 full-length albums, 3 splits and had more lineup changes than I would wish upon anyone
Speaking of the formation of the band, how was the name Leng Tch’e chosen?
Leng Tch’e is an ancient Chinese torture ritual where the victim is first drugged and then cut into little pieces, being left to bleed to death. Our singer stumbled upon it and thought it was kinda brutal.
The new record is a beast! How was the creative process this time around as well as working with Russ Russell in the studio?
Thanks! We spent a ridiculous amount of time writing and pre-producing this record, almost three years in fact. Guess we wanted to prove a point after the lineup and label changes. Mixing with Russ Russell was heaps of fun. He’s the best producer we’ve ever worked with, and a super chill dude.
Could you shed some light on the cover art of the new record?
It’s a visualization of the album title Hypomanic meaning a heightened state of creativity, right before full-blown mania. It’s the crazy scientist working on some fucked up, gory shit.
The band has undergone a bit of a recent transformation, in the form of a new vocalist. Can you describe the differences in the band and its sound from the days of Boris Cornelissen to current Leng Tch’e vocalist, Serge Kasongo?
Serge lifted the band to new heights, just as our new drummer Tony did when he replaced Sven in 2007. Both guys are very skilled and coupled with our evolution as musicians and songwriters, we’ve managed to step it up once again.
How do you view the way the addition of Serge has been accepted by the fans?
The fans love him. Every show that we’ve played with him, he gets the crowd going. He’s a natural performer, and an amazing vocalist.
Are there any strange and/or crazy Leng Tch’e road stories that haunt your memories?
Too many to mention! Metal fans can get pretty crazy. I remember one dude on tour that got so drunk, we set him on fire and kicked a soccer ball at his head. He got on the tour bus afterwards and we dropped him off in the next city, hundreds of miles from where he lives. That was amusing.
Every band has their own roots, specific sources of musical inspiration that their style and sound is ultimately a culmination of. What bands or musicians have been the biggest influence on the madness of Leng Tch’e?
Leng Tch’e is a mix of grindcore, death metal, hardcore and stoner rock. To name a few of our influences: Napalm Death, Nasum, Blood Duster, Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation, Burnt By The Sun, Mastodon, Keelhaul, Neurosis, Ringworm, Cro-Mags.
What other parts of human life find their way into Leng Tch’e’s artistic vision, such as the band’s lyrical content and visual art?
Most of Serge’s lyrics deal with government corruption, mass media manipulation, people who can’t or won’t think for themselves.
Who among the band’s peers do you believe are bringing it to the table the way Leng Tch‘e does, so to speak?
Musically there’s no other band out there that does what we do. Some bands mix different genres but they don’t sound like us at all. Often it sounds like a bunch of riffs thrown together. For us the song comes first, we try to make it all sound organic. Not to say that there aren’t any bands out there that still rip it up live, even though 99% of the music scene is shit nowadays. Some bands that I still greatly enjoy seeing live are Napalm Death, Rotten Sound, Converge, etc.
How would you describe the extreme music scene in Belgium, compared to other places the band has performed?
The Belgian metal scene is pretty lame in my opinion. Lots of melodic/black/folk whatever metal that’s not in the least original. There’s a new wave of deathcore bands that are pretty good at what they do but still nothing world shocking.
The band has had a few different relationships, as far as record labels go. How did the alliance with Season of Mist come about?
We just shopped the new record around to a few labels and Michael from Season Of Mist was enthusiastic right away. That’s what we were looking for: somebody who had the same passion for music as we do.
What musical trend would you like to inflict a “death of a thousand cuts” upon, and why?
Honestly most musical “trends” can be cut into a thousand little pieces and thrown into a pile of shit as far as I’m concerned. A few years ago it was the wigger deathcore sound, then it was pagan or pirate metal. Who the fuck comes up with these genres anyway? It disgusts me. And the sad thing is that fans have been so numbed by the constant overload of new bands that they can’t even decide for themselves anymore what is good or bad.
How would you describe the Leng Tch’e sound?
Like I said before, we play a mixture of all the music genres that we like. It was never a conscious choice though. We just decided to not give a fuck and play what we wanna play and somewhere along the line it came out sounding like this. We just called it “razorgrind” because there’s nobody else out there that sounds like us.
What event has been a standout moment in the career of the band, in your eyes?
For starters, the signing to Relapse Records definitely lifted us to a new level. We’ve toured the States and Canada both twice. And then when Sven and Boris left I thought we’d never survive that horrible blow but luckily we found Tony and Serge who were more than capable and we managed to write the album of our lives and come back even stronger than before.
What touring plans does the band have for the near future?
It’s kinda hard to get on a decent tour right now and not lose shitloads of money, but we’re working on some European tours. Hopefully, we’ll make it back Stateside next year.
It’s been a pleasure! Anything more to add?
Thanks for the interview! Check out our new album Hypomanic out on Season Of Mist! Cheers!
Photos by: Paul Lamont