Is it weird to have “should’ve leaned more into brutality” as your first thought upon completing a Metalcore album? Asking for a friend. That’s not to say that there is a total absence of the heavier and grimier stuff on Bury Tomorrow’s Cannibal (Music for Nations/Sony), but I wouldn’t have been heartbroken if they would’ve squeezed some more juice out of the amps.
It’s not often bands criticize their own work, but Twitching Tongues have admitted themselves that in the beginning their sound was “all over the place”. The Los Angeles-based quintet are back and they are hoping to rectify their previous mistakes with their third full-length album Disharmony (Metal Blade).
The title track begins with an extremely haunting piano melody and completely contrasts with your expectations. Although the song soon descends into heavy metal chaos, their newest material is more sophisticated and proves that Twitching Tongues have worked upon their previous mistakes. Many bands often try to simply be the loudest and heaviest, and although there are many kickass guitar riffs on Disharmony, Colin Young and co. are not afraid to show their softer side with a wide range of melodies and clean vocals.
It is often cliché to say that every song on an album sounds different from the last, but Twitching Tongues have been able to create songs which vary in both tempo and genre. ‘Cannibal’ is a fast-paced thrill-ride full of heavy vocals and extreme drumming, whereas ‘Love Conquers None’ has an extremely melancholy vibe, full of emotional backing vocals and an almost ballad-style sound.
There are many conflicting views on Young’s vocals, and it is not as easy as saying ‘you either love them or you hate them’. Colin’s vocal style is not dissimilar to Robb Flynn’s due to the mixture of half-screams and heavy cleans. His dramatic singing may not be to everyone’s taste, and if you are looking for heavy growls and screaming then you are going to be disappointed, but it is certainly hard to ignore how much passion and energy he puts into his vocal performance.
Although the lyrical content may leave much to be desired, it is hard to completely write off Twitching Tongues’ latest release. The band show many signs of promise and it is clear that their recent signing to Metal Blade and their extensive touring schedule has helped them to develop their sound.
Confession time. I missed Wretched’s latest release, the charmingly entitled Cannibal (Victory) when it came out back in the summer. I’m not entirely sure how that happened but I should probably put it down to carelessness or middle aged lack of attention to detail on my part. Anyway, I have now rectified this and can report that all is well in the technical death metal world of Wretched. Very well indeed.
Cannibal is the fourth album from the North Carolina outfit and it is as breathless and brutal as you hope. In fact, it might just be the best album to date from a band that don’t seem to have gotten the credit that they are surely due.
Attempting to explain Wretched to the uninitiated isn’t the easiest of tasks. Sure, they cover the technical end of the death metal sub-genre with consummate ease but additionally they have always seemed to be eager to include additional ideas, tones and influences within their extreme musical language. On Cannibal, you can also hear plenty of metalcore, a soupcon of Behemoth and a bucketload of satanic sounding bile and venom. All well and good, then.
At one level, listening through a poor MP3 and terrible laptop speakers can, if you are not a convert to this sort of thing, sound like kicking a bag of kittens down a long, steep metal staircase (not that I have any experience of this but hopefully you can conjure the imagery.) You’d be wrong though.
For all its pulverizing bluster and pile-driving enthusiasm, Cannibal is not as frenzied or out of control as my description might suggest. There is self-evidently a remorselessness in what they do but you do get a sense that the band understand that allowing themselves to take a breath from time to time doesn’t detract from the intensity of the listening experience; more, there is a better sense of controlled aggression that is a sign of a band progressing and advancing their craft.
Given the sonic intensity of the whole record, picking out highlights seems somewhat pointless as it’s all pretty solid stuff from start to finish but in the interests of music journalism, there’s plenty of meat on ‘Cranial Infestation’ and there is nothing like any sort of let up in the power of the thrash inspired collective mugging of ‘Morsel’ but seriously, if you like this sort of thing, you’re going to really like this sort of thing. Wretched are tearing everyone a new one, as you’re supposed to say at this point.