Review Summary: In the chaos, Another Language learns to breathe.
There is a beauty to decay, the gentle warmth of entropy that welcomes those who find themselves lost in it. The first act of Another Language
triumphantly collapses into chaos, time after time, a storm of distorted guitar, synthesis, and recessed cymbal hits, embracing the formula that This Will Destroy You have established over their past few records. The band lumbers along, emotionally vacant, but, just before the album is consigned to the growing litany of passionless post-rock records, they pause. One track, one short moment of self-reflection, tears apart all preconceived notions, and then invites you into their world. As the guitars interlace, granulated, reverbed, an inhuman choir crying out in union, strings appear, forming a dignified ambience that heralds the advancing percussion and growing distortion. The lull only lasts for so long – the ambience gives way to another abrasive climax – but it feels real
, and before the eye of the storm passes over, they take your hand and join you in the chaos.
Following a series of aesthetic changes in an attempt to escape the gentrification of post-rock, from the banal self-titled debut to the leaner, darker character of Tunnel Blanket
, This Will Destroy You has found a distinct niche, combining violent crescendos with lulling minimalism, adorned by touches of synthesis. A superficial glance would suggest that Another Language
is Tunnel Blanket
cast again, another trimmed, frustrating experience, repetitive but still engaging, if only by virtue of its sheer atmosphere. The comparison is reasonable: the album opens with the same sweeping movements and thundering heights, seamlessly moving between tracks, powered by their own inertia.
‘New Topia’ and ‘Dustism’, after all, feel like rote exercises, entering with shifting electronic synths before developing their respective growling tones and percussive tattoos. In each case, the conclusion is bombastic, almost grandiose, but instead of finding an oppressive beauty, the result is a dry wall of sound, with only the staccato snare hits and gentle chimes there to offset the brutalisation. The piano of ‘Serpent Mound’, repeating an eight-note sequence with a quiet determination, breaks the aesthetic pattern, giving way to dancing glitches and an arrhythmic gated synth. However, once again, the band settles for a triumphant collapse. This time may be tenderer, more natural, but there remains a distinct sense that the band is suffocating under their own weight, if only out of habit. History is hard to abandon.
Yet, with ‘War Prayer’, there is a shift. The wistful electronic groan yields to a two simple riffs in counterpoint, before a brief sojourn to a crunching climax. However, this cuts, to gentle tremolo, tonal shifts, and strings. It glitches and scratches, shimmering, but contains itself, with every beat of the emergent kick drum a pulse. The strength of this quieter moment, this small respite, is that it breathes, such that, by the time the torrent arrives, carried by light electronic triplets and screeching guitar, it has context. By taking the time to develop the silence and embrace the ambience, rather than simply abusing it to juxtapose their sonic violence, This Will Destroy You has elicited some actual satisfaction. This momentum never fades, even as the album slips into its most ambient. The rumbling bass, the reverbed piano, all of it has new-found purpose. The only shame is that it took fifteen minutes to find.
Everything follows from there. ‘Mother Opiate’ is This Will Destroy You at their barest, an ambient, Codeine-lite that repeats one riff with numb obsession while textures swirl about, bordering on vocal. The jangling burn of ‘Memory Loss’ and the shoegaze snarl of ‘Invitation’ reinvigorate the album, sustained by the earnest return of Alex Bhore’s percussion. Some slight pacing issues appear, particularly at the end of ‘Invitation’, but these are minor concerns. Another Language
becomes powerful, cohesive, adding variation with each successive track: a rare album that learns as it goes.
The key is expression. ‘God’s Teeth’, the concluding track, opens gently, with a whining texture a backdrop for wistful piano chords. It’s one of the album’s most human moments, especially when the texture disappears, an ephemeral idea not to return, leaving the piano to continue alone. The solitude doesn't last either: a synthetic wailing begins, crying out, a mournful elegy to remind you, even if this is an end, it’s not one that you’ll face alone. When the guitar emerges, it remains restrained. There are no more roaring climaxes, only a fitting end, a thousand candles raised in unison, the chant of an instrumental crowd, buoyed by a yearning hope. The safety is comforting, and as distortion gathers in the background, rising to stifle the music, the instruments grow in volume, and everything feels so right
. This protest dies – a wave of static envelops the track, before cutting to silence – but the vigil is fulfilled. Another Language
never speaks. It never needed to. It offers the journey.