Gnaw Their Tongues and Dragged Into Sunlight – NV


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.




Gnaw Their Tongues – Abyss Of Longing Throats


It can’t be easy being a genuine innovator. Critics like to make a big deal about bands who “forge their own sound”, but once you’ve done that, what are you supposed to do with it? The challenge of maintaining that unique voice without just repeating yourself is one that many bands have stumbled over – and if you manage that, you have to deal with staying ahead of the bands you inspired. Gnaw Their Tongues’ solo artist Mories was among the first musicians to blend Extreme Metal with electronic Noise/Dark Ambient on anything more than a superficial level, and despite the increasing popularity of this combination GTT remain at the very cutting edge of the hybrid genre.

Mories’ response to this problem is to stake claim to a broad territory, and subtly refine the focus of each album, drawing different aspects of his sound into greater clarity. The key elements of Gnaw Their Tongues’ sonic domain – raw Black Metal, “industrial” Drone Doom, alienating Ambient and Harsh Noise with disturbing vocal samples and found-sounds – are present on every album, but combined in different ratios to keep each release fresh and distinctive. On Abyss Of Longing Throats (Crucial Blast), the Metal elements of their sound have been turned all the way to 11, creating what is probably one of their most accessible releases to date.

Of course, this is still Gnaw Their Tongues here – “accessible” needs to be taken in context. The Metal here – whether it’s the howling, repetitive BM of the title track or the almost Death Metal rhythmical pounding of “Through Flesh” and “Up Into The Heavens Down Into The Circles Of Hell” – is always of the most abstract and alienating kind, and constantly drenched in layers of suffocating Noise and distortion. The effect is not a thousand miles away from Aevangelist, a band who were clearly inspired by Gnaw Their Tongues and have perhaps given a little of their own inspiration back.

Abyss Of Longing Throats is both a valid starting point for new listeners and a satisfying new release for existing fans of one of the most genuinely unique and innovative Extreme Metal bands in the world, and guaranteed a space in the End Of Year list of anyone who enjoys their music harsh, disturbing and abstract.