Posts Tagged ‘black metal’

Consouling Sounds – 9th December 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Listening to Gnaw Their Tongues always feels like a dubious pleasure, something that’s almost masochistic. You listen to GNT to channel dark energy, to release bad vibes, for the letting of anguish and pain and anger, for an experience akin to a sonic exorcism. You don’t listen to a GNT album to feel better about life and the world, to lift the spirits. In keeping with Mories’ myriad previous releases under the Gnaw their Tongues and various other monikers, Hymns For The Broken, Swollen and Silent is an album for venting, or when feeling the need for some pugilistic self-flagellation.

Structurally, there is a certain narrative thread which is possible to interpret fromt e tracks and their sequencing. Sonically, this is the sound of hell: Hymns For The Broken, Swollen and Silent is the soundtrack of existence in purgatory.

Woozy, near subsonic bass dominates, while above, impenetrable demonic screams and below, almost submerged, drums like machine gun fire rattle at 250bpm. It’s an unholy racket. ‘Your Kingdom Shrouded in Blood’ brings a vast, cinematic expansiveness to the sound. The drums roll like thunder and crash like tsunami, reverberating through immense canyons, and monastic voices send wordless invocations to the heavens. It’s pompous and bombastic and it works magnificently, as if soundtracking the preface to a climactic battle of mythological proportions, a combat between good and evil where the two sides each summon their ultimate deities.

‘Silent Burned Atrocities’ ratchets up the pain, marrying extreme sounds at extreme volume to extreme tempos, barrages of rapid-fire beats from deep within the morass of noise, snippets of dialogue emerge, to be engulfed in a wall of noise and screams of anguish. ‘Hymns For The Broken, Swollen and Silent’ ventures into the territory occupied by Sunn O))) on Monoliths and Dimensions. The dronesome doom and the creeping fear chords are bathed in a quasi-religious light. Here, with sampled vocals floating in and out between the monumental, crushing beats the sound takes on a different perspective on eternal darkness. But dark it is, and there is no hope of finding hope here. ‘I Have Clad the Pillar in the Flayed Skins’ sounds like a black metal remix of early Swans, a punishing cacophony of noise that’s every bit as torturous as the scene the title conveys. These are the spoils of battle, and there is rejoicing in the bloody scene of victory.

The final track, ‘Our Mouths Ridden with Worms’ is the subterranean song of the dead, the defeated. It’s a dank, dark, lugubrious trudge of a track. Perhaps death is not defeat, but victory: to live in a world where this is the sound of living is a bleak prospect.

Hymns For The Broken, Swollen and Silent is not fun. It is not pleasant. It is not enjoyable. It’s dark, and darker still. It’s oppressive, and terrifying. It’s classic Gnaw Their Tongues.

Gnaw Their Tongues - Hymns

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Peaceville – 21st October 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Christ, this is fucking dark. The video which accompanies ‘Abysmal Channelling’ (the album’s bonus track, perversely enough), depicts scenes of an occult ritual, complete with burning incense, singing bowls, self-mutilation, frenzied bell-ringing, pools of blood, all against a backdrop of murky, mangled industrial noise.

Describing themselves as ‘blackened noise occultists’ US act T.O.M.B. (that’s Total Mechanical Occultic Blasphemy) have been going for 18 years now, and have, not surprisingly, remained deep, deep underground. Positively chthonic, in fact.

Fury Nocturnus is their thirteenth release, and while containing thirteen tracks (plus the aforementioned bonus cut), it contains no tunes, and the truth is, it’s very difficult to really establish what the hell’s going on amidst the dense sonic fog. Yes, they’ve fully embraced the

production values of early black metal classics – and it’s perhaps worth noting that Hellhammer, drummer of infamous Norwegian black metal trailblazers Mayhem is a key contributor to this album. This does mean, of course, that the guitars, drums, vocals and dark ambience which pervades every corner of the album is obfuscated by a thick, grainy coating of dinginess. A number of the tracks end abruptly, and there’s a distinctly low-budget, ‘cassette’ feel to this release. But then of course there is. And while occasionally grinding riffs seep through, there are no tunes, no overt structures and for the most part, it’s a seething morass of dark, dark noise cut through with tribal percussion.

Sometimes, there’s a very fine line between portentous and pretentious, grand art and derangement that borders on the dangerously deviant. It’s not entirely clear where T.O.M.B. sit, other than on a throne of bones in a temple hewn into some inaccessible rock face. They’re very much keeping it real in their approach to the music-making process: when creating the field recording soundscapes which feature on Fury Nocturnus, they report that certain necromantic instrumentation was used: human and animal bone, cemetery crypt doors, tombstones and coffins, and audio EVP equipment. I’m inclined to take them seriously if only because I don’t fancy the idea of being the next sacrificial offering, and crucifixion is, I understand, quite a painful way to go. I’m certainly not about to snort with derision about the cliché of the snarling vocals ranting about Christianity on ‘Hoards Rise Now, or any of the album’s many demonic invocations.

It’s not a fun or pleasurable experience, and protracted exposure to this dank, demonic, deviant, and deeply sinister noise feels like an act of self-flagellation. Needless to say, I’d take it over Justin Bieber, Kanye or Katy Perry any day.

 

T.O.M.B.-artwork-websize

Southern Lord – 1st July 2016

James Wells

Christ. Everything louder and faster and more gnarly than everything else. The drums are so fast the individual beats blur to form a sound that resembles the whupping of a helicopter’s rotors. The guitars, a frenetic blizzard of movement, form a blanket of sound, but there are actual notes in there – lots of notes, tumbling over one another at such speed as to be almost inaudible individually to the human ear. Screaming solos rear up from the thunderous tempest, brief but shrill and completely wild.

It’s everything you’d expect from an album released on Southern Lord, and from a band who’ve tagged the album on Bandcamp with the terms ‘anarchist metal black metal blackened crust death metal metal punk victoria bc grindcore Victoria’. The lyrics are as unintelligible as the band’s logo, but the sentiment is clear.

It’s seriously black and it’s seriously crusty, and a gloriously angry and relentlessly bleak, venom-spewing example of dingy, dark metal. The title might refer nihilistically to the ruins of civilisation or of humanity, but could equally be a pointer to the ruins of your eardrums and psyche after hearing this savage album.

 

ISKRA - Ruins