Review Summary: A 25-minute exercise in aural excrement
Over the years I’ve come to discover something I refer to as “the deathcore effect.” Any time a new deathcore album shows any signs of musical progression, innovation, or at the very least, functioning brain activity within the band, another deathcore release comes and shatters all hope of growth within the genre. For example, this year Carnifex
released Die Without Hope
: the best sounding album of their career and a step in the right direction for the band, polishing their hardcore-tinged take on technical death/black metal. It wasn’t a great album by any means but it showed the maturation of a previously terrible band, and that’s always a good thing. Then a month later, Emmure
’s Eternal Enemies
came out and made “eternal enemies” of anyone expecting to hear good music. Later the same month, Whitechapel
demonstrated some of the tightest songwriting the subgenre has to offer on Our Endless War
– again, nothing spectacular; just a refreshing, heavy as hell album you could bang your head to for about an hour. But lo and behold, the cycle continues as Black Tongue has released what can only be described as a 25-minute exercise in aural excrement – a genre-defining album in the worst sense of the phrase. It’s a culmination of everything wrong with the subgenre, and everything wrong with metal in general, jam-packed into a loathsome half-hour; a reminder to everyone why deathcore is almost universally agreed upon as a pimple in the asshole that is the modern music industry.
Musically, not much has changed since the band’s harrowing debut EP Falsifier
. It’s more of the same – more breakdowns, more pig squeals, more distortion, and more heaviness all around. Black Tongue make the most out of Born Hanged
’s brief runtime by dragging out every breakdown to a snail’s pace, composing songs out of less than a handful of riffs that seem never-ending. Intro “Foreshadow” is truly a foreshadowing of the grave things to come. The vocalist shouts some incomprehensible nonsense before leading into the album’s first real song, aptly described by its title: “Waste.” The band executes a passable coherent thought on “Blight,” when the guitarists temporarily wake up from their autopilot droning of 3-note chugs and manage to play a riff that moves faster than a handicapped tortoise. This allows the drummer to lay down some double bass for a few moments before falling back into the brodown-riddled nonsense that comprises the rest of the EP. “Coma” (this band really knows how to name their songs!) has a pleasantly dense atmosphere halfway through the track that goes hand-in-hand with the plodding breakdown tempo, but it certainly isn’t worth enduring the monotonous trance you’re put into by the rest of the song.
Black Tongue is somewhat of a deathcore anomaly in that they’re so wrapped up in the hardcore “fuck this shit” attitude of the scene that they come across as a complete parody of it. The sad part of it is, it’s not funny. Listening to Born Hanged
isn’t so much of a listening experience as it is a test of patience: how long can you handle the most balls-heavy drops the genre has to offer?
In that sense, Born Hanged
truly is a genre-defining album, proving Black Tongue may not only be the worst band in existence, but also a tangible step-by-step teaching tutorial on how precisely not
to make music. And for that, Black Tongue, we thank you.