Posts Tagged ‘Swollen and Silent’

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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