Let’s be honest – collaborations in Metal almost never work. The point is surely to create something which combines elements of both bands into something both distinctive and familiar, but in practice it normally ends up as either a crude patchwork or simply a retread of whichever band has the most distinctive style.
Gnaw Their Tongues and Dragged Into Sunlight are in many ways the perfect combination of bands for this kind of collaboration – not only because of their shared theme and atmosphere, but because both bands occupy a shifting sonic territory whose boundaries are regularly reformed. GTT have long been in the habit of altering the exact balance of Noise and Black Metal between albums, whereas DIS’ two non-collaborative albums both explore notably different styles and tones. As a result, it’s not easy to identify exactly what each party has contributed to NV (Prosthetic) – this is very much its own thing, not a crude combination of the two.
Which is not to say that this is their surprise Polka album. The five tracks on NV explore the mixture of Black Metal, harsh Noise and grim Sludge/Doom that you’d expect from these two names, and it’s a genuinely effective mixture. It may be GTT mastermind Mories’ hand that keeps the balance on the atmospheric and sinister rather than outright brutal, and Dragged Into Sunlight may have written the crusty Black Metal riffs that slither out of the shadows throughout, but the elements unite into a genuinely effective whole. It may initially seem surprising that the Noise elements are relatively subtly played, often used to accentuate and highlight the Metal rather than entomb them in the style of Aevangelist, but both bands understand the value of not over-egging the pudding all the time.
Whether judged as a collaboration between two artists with similar aesthetic goals or as an album in its own right, NV is an unrestrained success, and – alongside Gnaw Their Tongues’ own Abyss Of Longing Throats (Crucial Blast) – one of the more interesting albums in this style that you’re likely to hear in 2015.