Sound: We spend a lot of time talking about emotion in music. It's the emotion, after all, that makes it so appealing, so addictive. But what is it, exactly? Joy? Sorrow? The solo from Comfortably Numb'? If you subscribe to the philosophy that it can be any thing to any man, then be warned this is the sort of sonic terrorism that might test your sincerity. This is horrific music, almost certainly for the faint-hearted as the stubborn and unwilling are less likely to open themselves to it. If you are new to Gnaw Their Tongues then you must remember to approach with no caution and no prejudices.
In a remarkably accurate bit of hyperbole, new label Candlelight describes the project as being like the work of an imprisoned lunatic smearing his faeces all over the walls in a grotesque manifestation of filthy art. The more obvious styles to have been lowered into the putrid cauldron are noise, drone and black metal, but the crucial factor in the album's success is the presence. While tribal beats thunder in the distance and shrieks desperately, fruitlessly, strive to pierce the textural gauze, there is always something lingering. Generally, it will be a drone of strings or brass but sometimes it is harder to hear than it is to feel. Employing this sort of orchestral instrumentation gives the music a sense of grandeur, but that's pushed to the back of the mix like a distant memory.
Mories, the man behind Gnaw Their Tongues, doesn't seem at ease with his prolific catharsis; the speed with which he records and releases material suggests that he can never expel the demons quickly enough. However, L'arrive...' is one of his more considered efforts, more a composition than an uncontrollable vomit of sound. The use of melody, harmony and concrete rhythm is often concealed behind layers of fuzz and grot, but when it is more blatant it serves to zoom out', to give the music a context within the wider music world and to highlight its misery. Guess what, though? Even Le Trne Blanc De La Mort', arguably the most tonal piece to start with, eventually gives in and returns to the shitstorm that's swirling round this psychopath's brain. // 9
Lyrics: To all that cannot understand it, the French language seems elegant, soothing. I suppose you could say that in this case it's...not. While lyrical content is at best indecipherable and at worst non-existent, the concept is a simple one: death. Incredibly clean-cut compared to past vulgarities, the song titles seem rather majestic. This album situates itself not in a padded cell or a filthy gutter, but at the ceremonial opening of the pearly black gates. Let's not forget, however, that it still sounds absolutely rancid. // 8
Overall Impression: We spend a lot of time talking about talent in music. There are various schools of thought that see instrumental prowess as essential, for its own sake and for crafting moods and feelings. But here, Gnaw Their Tongues wields absolute tyrannical power over your emotional state without any obvious technical ability that's where the talent lies. Take this to the high street and you'll be told it's not music, but if music is manipulating sound and pitch to create feeling then this is simply one end of a beautiful spectrum. Ten to fifteen listens in, way after the element of surprise has been removed, this record still shakes me up something awful. If you're willing, at least try and be ready for it. // 9
- Duncan Geddes aka duncang (c) 2010