Review Summary: In 2010 Gnaw Their Tongues deliver a hard hitting record that fuses cinematic ambience with black metal influenced noise.
Gnaw Their Tongues is a band that has appealed to me for some time now. Mories, the sole ringleader behind this one man Dutch act, has impressed me from time to time with his uncompromising ability to create black metal the way it’s supposed to be. Grim, hateful and emotionally distraught. Whether it be his visually striking album covers, his singing about how your children are going to die tomorrow or his claustrophobic noise/classical influenced take on black metal, Gnaw Their Tongues push the envelop of good taste and artistic merit. GTT’s fifth full length record, L’Arrivee De La Terne Mort Triomphante, finds Mories exploring new ground and accessibility while retaining the core sound of dimly produced black metal.
The overall sound of this album can be categorized as a volatile juxtaposition between ambient, drone, noise, industrial and classical within a black metal infrastructure of high pitched shrieks, blasting drums, and murky production. This is a highly intricate album that features a raw black metal background while incorporating diverse musical arrangements and a profound level of experimentation. By diverse musical arrangements I mean by piercing violins, ghastly choir vocals and malevolent orchestrated passages that wouldn’t sound out of place in some legitimate horror film. Morie’s talent lies in his ability to incorporate these elements in a relatively structure free environment. A perfect example to make would be Sunn O’s Big Church. I’m not trying to compare each band’s sound but Gnaw Their Tongues has that same element of unpredictability to their music. One minute you have droning rhythms grounding and pounding your ears into submission until the song breaks into a momentary wash of ambient keyboards and piano before finally erupting back into chaos.
It takes a talented musician to perfect the “one man band” sound in black metal and Mories does so without compromising his ethics. His general approach to creating is very minimal. Especially the guitars which are played in a very unorthodox fashion. Instead of being out front, he applies the instrument to a secondary role. His plodding rhythms are densely heard in the background but are elongated to providing ominous, rocking dirges to carry the music’s bleak atmosphere. The drums and bass are executed in pretty much the same manner. Low key and down tempo, Mories adheres to a doom metal aesthetic while being firmly grounded in black metal and noise. The vocals are a high point to this album, contributing much of the insanity held on board. He shrieks and screams with so much misanthropic bite that understanding the words is hardly important. Choir vocals are occasionally implemented which enhances the sonic range and diversity of the record. Some of the biggest contributions of L’Arrivee lie in the usage of violins and synthseizers. The violin provides a sense of urgency with speedy compositions that are perfectly spaced between the moments of tranquility and hostility. Where as the keyboards are splendidly performed to anchor the dark, cinematic overtones of the record.
The album features five tracks that range in between from seven minutes to eleven minutes. L’Arrivee De La Terne Mort Triomphante isn’t too harrowing of an album to sit through which solidifies the strength of this record. The lack of filler, uninspired songwriting, and senseless instrumentals make this an album that fans of noise, drone, ambient and black metal need to hear immediately. In a mostly down year for black metal Gnaw Their Tongues deliver the goods with this uncompromising piece of awesome. If you’re gonna burn the world down, let’s do it together.