Gnaw Their Tongues - L'Arrivée De La Terne Mort Triomphante
5 songs (44:50)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Charles
Gnaw Their Tongues, a one-man noise act from the Netherlands, has until now been more familiar to me in name than sound. Like a lot of these projects, Mories has a prolific discography which I had zoned in and out of inconsistently. But receiving this promo from Candlelight, I have been forced to confront… it… head on for the first time.

Yes, Candlelight. Gnaw Their Tongues is on a bigger label, now, and you can tell just by looking at the artwork. A sinister scene, undoubtedly, but creepy rather than straight-up appalling like the cover of the last full-length, or heaven forbid For All Slaves… A Song of False Hope. And sure enough, musically we have a total u-turn, with gleaming polyrhythmic grooves and fretless bass pattering signalling a bid for more mainstream acc- hang on, I’ve put on the new Obsidian by mistake.

Musically, we don’t have any kind of u-turn, but arguably the sound is a little less extreme than it has been in the past and instead more ambitious. There is very little of the kind of pained, rusty water black metal that ran across the band’s droning noise machinery of previous work. The blackened shriek remains in the vocals, but they are often faded way into the background.

As the album opens what we get, then, is a rich and textured dark-ambient approach, with synthed choirs, funeral doom pianos and string sounds adding a sense of harrowing, ominous melodrama to a clunking industrial thud buried underneath. It is largely very well-worked, lest you have worrying mental images of Casio parping: the strings on Les Anges Frémissent Devant la Mort are creepy as hell, sustaining high pitched, dissonant tones throughout the tune’s long running length, threatening but never quite turning into the kind of horrifying crescendo that Big Church pulled out on the last Sunn 0))) record. Candlelight compare this to bands like Axis of Perdition and Blut Aus Nord (I presume referring to their Work Which Transforms God phase), and this makes some sense. Like those bands, this comes across as an attempt to score the kind of sickening visual imagery that only exists in the artists’ heads, never really building into anything, just toiling away like the most sickening background music.

Inside this rumbling darkness we do sometimes find curious shapes. Unnaturally cheery piano jangling starts to form a perky riff during La Mort dans Toute son Ineffable Grandeur, but quickly disappears back into this whirling chasm of ethereal noise styled like howling wind. Later we get a sickly woodwind solo doing the same. Le Chant de la Mort features the kind of jilted, carnival drumming that you might expect to hear from a Peste Noire interlude, again smothered in the same oppressive ambient haze.

This is a compelling record, with an uncompromising and restless atmosphere that yields kernels of subtlety, beauty, almost, in the oddest, uneasiest kind of way. It is probably the next step on from At the Dread Magnificence of Perversity, concentrating the dark ambient sounds of that record into five monolithic spectacles, removing the excess (the horror samplings, for example). For the small number of people involved in this little world, I can see this being one of the year’s highpoints.

Killing Songs :
Charles quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Gnaw Their Tongues that we have reviewed:
Gnaw Their Tongues - All The Dread Magnificence Of Perversity reviewed by James and quoted 84 / 100
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