When a band that formed in 2006 have already recorded ten full-length albums and so many EPs and splits that I can’t be bothered counting them, it’s fair to assume that they’ve (I know, it’s only one person, but you use a band-name you get called by a plural – science) nailed their sound down by now. With Metal/Noise pioneers Gnaw Their Tongues, however, it’s a bit more complicated than that – they’ve somehow managed to develop a style that is instantly recognisable but changes subtly across each album, to the extent that you’re never sure exactly what you’re going to get when a new one is announced, and how heavily it will lean towards their disparate sides.
Breaking the pattern of (comparative) musicality over the last two albums, Genocidal Majesty (Consouling) plunges back into the abyss of Noise and chaos. The keyword here – apart from “noisy”, but that’s a given – is “mechanised”. Robotic, punishing industrial rhythms keep each song afloat, with layers of instrumentation and electronics processed into sheer noise and Mories’ agonised, arrhythmic shrieks coalescing into solid blocks of sound. ‘Cold Oven’ takes this approach to its conclusion, adding frozen, Blade Runner-esque synths to complete the feeling of alienation.
The effect is closer to the likes of Red Harvest than the Black Metal bands that are normally referenced, but with the intensity and sense of horror taken to such extremes that they become something else entirely. Each track begins and ends abruptly, further heightening the sense of disconnection and industrialisation – the album is a factory run without human hands, in which blocks of alien noise are chopped into pieces of a size determined by no measurable calculus. I like the bit that goes “bzztt-arrgghh-crunch”.
When Mories first started to combine Black(ish) Metal with Electronic Noise in 2006 he wasn’t alone, but it was a fairly narrow field. These days it’s much more widespread, and has even found more mellow expression in Dark Ambient acts like God Body Disconnect blending guitars with their electronic and field recordings, but Gnaw Their Tongues have managed to stay at the top of their field through what seems like sheer bloody-mindedness. Genocidal Majesty, like the best of Mories’ releases under this name, feels like a new direction and a reaffirmation at the same time.