The best way to describe Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred (MetalBlade), is that Twitching Tongues wants to try on lots of new hats. Songs will switch back and forth between crunchy Hardcore, speedy Thrash and straight up balladry, while the lyrics vary from personal loss (‘Forgive and Remember’) to political strife (‘T.F.R.’). And that’s not to say that this multi-pronged approach can’t work or there aren’t memorable moments to be had here. It’s all a matter of consistency.
With its eclectic collection of songs and styles, Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred seems to pine for the Extreme Metal heyday of the early to mid-90s. Hell, the title of the record already reads like a Shai Hulud tune. And before you give yourselves brain aneurysms, metal elitists, stop and think about all the great shit we got from 1990 to 1997. Through Silver in Blood, Wolverine Blues, Demanufacture, The IVth Crusade, Systems Overload, Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion, Orchid, shall I continue? But more specifically, Twitching Tongues created an album that sounds like a prime 90s Roadrunner Records release.
There are bits of Machine Head, Type O Negative, Life of Agony and Sepultura (nice drum fills in ‘T.F.R.’) all over this thing. ‘Gaining Purpose’ and ‘Harakiri’ are distinctly rooted in the groove-laden Thrash of Burn My Eyes and The Law. And if speed and brutality is more your style then the aforementioned ‘T.F.R.’ and ‘The Sound of Pain’ let their hair down, crank up the bass and go for broke in the vein of stompers like ‘We Hate Everyone’ and ‘Kill All the White People.’ Due to my musical sensibilities, I find those songs to be the most potent of the batch, but there is the melodic angle to be addressed as well.
There’s lots of singing on Gaining Purpose, and that’s both a blessing and an, albeit minor, hindrance. ‘AWOL (State of the Union)’ hits like an industrial piston, but its momentum becomes compromised when it stops to deliver loud, tuneful choruses. The Thrash metal ballad is successfully resuscitated on ‘Kill for You,’ but some will be taken aback by the full-on crooner ‘Long Gone’ with its pianos and strings in abundance while Colin Young belts out lyrics on love and loss. Not as jarring as I expected it to be, but maybe not needed on this release. By the time ‘Long Gone’ rolls out the savvy listener will have picked up on the track listing’s pattern. For every barnburner, we get another slow jam right after.
Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred is a good album and maybe it connected with me because those vintage Roadrunner bands were the soundtrack of my high school and college years. Twitching Tongues are right on the cusp of cracking that 90s code.