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. Continue reading
These days, blending Black Metal with Noise/Ambient electronics is so common it’s become a cliché (or, at least, it seems that way if you’re the one Ghost Cult asks to review EVERY SINGLE ALBUM IN THAT STYLE THAT EVER GETS RELEASED), but that wasn’t always the case. During the late 90’s and early 2000’s using Noise for intros or segues was standard, but actually letting it into your SONGS was still largely frowned upon. Along with his peers in Axis Of Perdition, Mories (the man solely responsible for Gnaw Their Tongues) was among the first to really explore the potential of these two often contradictory styles, and still among the very best. Continue reading
The Roadburn Festival, the world première event for all things heavy, diverse, avant-garde, and underground begins today in Tilburg, NL at various venues, under the watchful eye of founder Walter Hoeijmakers. John Dyer Baizley of Baroness curates this years’ fest and performs with his band as well. The fest is nearly a sellout with some limited tickets available for Sunday. Full details below. Continue reading
This year’s Roadburn Festival just gets better and better. The fest has now added twenty new bands such as Whores, Integrity, Cobalt, Bongnzilla, Disfear, Big Business, Trans AM and more. More details below: Continue reading
Part four of the Ghost Cult Album of the Year countdown for 2015.
One staff team. Over 550 albums covered by Ghost Cult over the last twelve months. One epic race to be crowned Album of the Year.
Read on to dive into the Ghost Cult Top 20…
20. Soilwork – ‘The Ride Majestic’ (Nuclear Blast)
“The Ride Majestic continues the slow and subtle evolution of the Soilwork sound; sounding fuller, richer and shinier than all that have gone before. In a career of great albums, the aptly named The Ride Majestic is truly outstanding.”
19. Parkway Drive – ‘Ire’ (Resist/Epitaph)
“While the main focus is still here in the now frontier, by opening the floodgates, Parkway have allowed themselves to write a batch of great metal songs that reference classic rock, traditional metal, 90’s groove metal and metalcore while still sounding resolutely and proudly Parkway.”
18. Dragged Into Sunlight / Gnaw Their Tongues – ‘N.V.’ (Prosthetic)
“A genuinely effective whole, the Noise elements are relatively subtly played, often used to accentuate and highlight the Metal rather than entomb them. Whether judged as a collaboration between two artists with similar aesthetic goals or as an album in its own right, N.V. is an unrestrained success”
17. Bring Me The Horizon – ‘That’s The Spirit’ (RCA/Columbia)
“That’s The Spirit is Horizon maturing into a fine young adult, confident, strong and secure in themselves and the knowledge that they are now master craftsmen. Successfully combining every good aspect of alternative rock and metal of the last fifteen years, That’s The Spirit is Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Black Album’ moment.”
16. Elder – ‘Lore’ (Armageddon Shop / Stickman)
Exemplary progressive stoner metal, with meticulous dynamics and depth, breadth, power, restraint, and mountainous music that builds to an almighty epic of a crescendo
15. Between The Buried And Me – ‘Coma Ecliptic’ (Metal Blade)
Ghost Cult Album of the Month – October “The record that they were always promising to make but you weren’t sure was possible, on Coma Ecliptic, Between the Buried and Me have exceeded all expectations and delivered not only the album of their careers but one of the most monumental ambitious rock concept pieces this side of Operation Mindcrime.”
14. Gloryhammer – ‘Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards’ (Napalm)
“Gloryhammer are ridiculously entertaining. If you somehow manage to listen to new album Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards without grinning like an idiot all the way through it, then quite simply, you’re getting Metal wrong.”
13. A Forest Of Stars – ‘Beware The Sword You Cannot See’ (Lupus Lounge/Prophecy)
“Enthralling storytelling and atmosphere, as well as explorations into psychedelic territory and pastoral folk amid the crushing black metal dynamics; fourth effort Beware the Sword You Cannot See is an unabashed masterpiece.”
12. Goatsnake – ‘Black Age Blues’ (Southern Lord)
“Clear, soulful tones elevate the songs above the rest of their stoner/doom brethren and vocal lines will lodge in your head for days after. An excellent comeback album from a band that has been away for far too long. Let’s hope they decide to keep this motor running for a little longer this time around.”
11. Royal Thunder – ‘Crooked Doors’ (Relapse)
“There are no throw away songs on this album, and every track rewards repeated listens. Crooked Doors is the sound of pressure cooking sand into glass and then into diamonds, all with an alchemy fuelled by magic and loss.”
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.
Hot UK festival Temples, held at Motion skatepark in Bristol, UK, has confirmed the first batch of bands to play next years edition.
Extended to run over four days, and appearing a week later on the calendar than this years incarnation, one of the most must-see events on the UK metal and heavy music calendar has come out of the blocks, confirming the following acts will hit the boards between June 2 and June 5, with more to follow:
ALL PIGS MUST DIE
CORRUPT MORAL ALTAR
DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT
GNAW THEIR TONGUES
VISION OF DISORDER
With 3 main stage headliners still to be announced, Temples is already shaping up as the place to be at the start of summer 2016.
Tickets are available exclusively from www.templesfestival.co.uk
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.
Apex Fest VI has updated their lineup for their three day event, held at TransPecos in Ridgewood, Queens and the schedule is posted below.
APEX VI – An Apocalyptic Music Event
APEX FEST TOUR I:
w/ Trepaneringsritualen, Aderlating, IRM, Sutekh Hexen
May 31: Machines With Magnets – Pawtucket, RI
Jun 02: Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art – Philadelphia, PA
Jun 03: The Crown – Baltimore, MD
APEX FEST VI MAIN EVENT
I – Jun 05: Trans Pecos – Queens, NY
w/ Jarl, Omei, Article Collection, Arbiter + films/visuals by Martin Bladh, Karolina Urbaniak
II – Jun 06: Trans Pecos – Queens, NY
w/ Gnaw Their Tongues, Trepaneringsritualen, Menace Ruine, IRM, Burial Hex, Sutekh Hexen, Barren Harvest + DJs Ryan Martin (DAÏS), Shenan (Rituals NYC)
III – Jun 07: Trans Pecos – Queens, NY
w/ The Body, Sophia + Karjalan Sissit, Svartsinn, Northaunt, Havan, Funerary Call + DJs Fade Kainer (Statiobloom, Batillus, Theologian), Ben Abstract (Wrath, Bonechurch)
APEX FEST TOUR II:
w/ Sophia+Karjalan Sissit, Svartsinn, Northaunt, Visions
Jun 08: 3rd & Girard – Philadelphia, PA
Jun 10: Dusk – Providence, RI
Jun 12: La Vitrola – Montreal, QC
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Abstract is the new brutal. The principal focus of Extreme Metal has always been to make music that sounds as violent or destructive as possible, but over the last couple of years a growing number of bands in different sub-genres have embraced a more subtle approach. Whether it’s Gnaw Their Tongues and their followers blending Black Metal with Noise elements, Blut Aus Nord embracing dissonance or Portal deconstructing familiar Death Metal into something totally other, it’s becoming more common to encounter Extreme Metal which doesn’t so much punch your face as make you doubt its existence.
Primitive Man are one of a current circle of bands – Sea Bastard, Keeper and Indian among their peers – engaged in stripping so-called “Sludge”, that ugly child of Punk and Black Sabbath, of its Blues influences and sense of groove and focussing entirely on its capacity for bleakness and discomfort, and are arguably the leaders in their circle when it comes to abstraction. Home Is Where The Hatred Is (Relapse) continues from their independent debut album Scorn with thirty minutes of abstract rhythms, broken chords and growled vocals that steadfastly refuse to describe anything as uplifting or recognisable as a riff. It’s a thick, genuinely unsettling morass of noise and almost ambient amp abuse, and when they do allow themselves a brief moment of Grind-fuelled violence at the start of Downfall it’s almost a relief – though one that’s rapidly overtaken as the song collapses once again into dissonance and atmospherics. There are similarities to Khanate, of course, in their use of dissonance and unorthodox song structures, but as their name would suggest they seem less artful and refined, more… well… primitive.
It is extremely difficult to criticise HIWTHI, not because it’s without flaws, but because any apparent weaknesses (tracks blurring into another; the lack of satisfying climax; the sense of dislocation and frustration that pervades) are so obviously the result of very deliberate choices by the band. They’re not bugs, to borrow from the clichés of IT, but features. This isn’t the dirty, angry Rock ‘n Roll of Eyehategod or Iron Monkey, and it doesn’t seek to press the same buttons – this is genuinely ugly, unsatisfying, dissonant music from a band who aren’t interested in catharsis or making you rock out.