Gnaw Their Tongues

Gnaw Their Tongues "Collected Atrocities 2005-2008" 2CD

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For nearly a decade, Dutch avant-black/doom entity Gnaw Their Tongues (named after a particularly evocative passage from the Book Of Revelation) has been infecting the underground with a uniquely disturbing brand of chaotic heaviness. Fusing together malevolent, rumbling doom with rabid, noise-damaged aggression and blasts of fearsome orchestral power and industrial pandemonium, and draping these lurching, hellish dirges in an oppressive atmosphere thick with horror and despair, the intensely nightmarish music that GTT mastermind Mories produces still defies easy categorization. Before the release of the band's Crucial Blast debut An Epiphanic Vomiting Of Blood in 2007, I had discovered the band through an extremely limited cassette release called Preferring Human Skin Over Animal Fur that immediately blew me away, sounding unlike anything else I was hearing in either metal or industrial music.

That tape and various other ultra-limited releases had been surfacing since around 2005, and all of that early material from the band quickly went out of print once fans of extreme sonic perversion started to catch on to what the band was doing. Long sought after by devotees of the band's abject blackened horror, this material has been difficult to procure since then outside of shitty MP3 rips, but we've now assembled much of Gnaw Their Tongues's earliest recorded material as Collected Atrocities 2005-2008, a new double CD anthology that spans the first three years of the band's existence, compiling the Preferring Human Skin Over Animal Fur, Horse Drawn Hearse and For All Slaves... A Song Of False Hope EPs, the material from the Static Hymnal compilation, and other rarities from the bowels of the GTT archive. These early recordings signaled the arrival of a nightmarish new sound unlike anything I'd heard to that point: there were echoes of Abruptum's improvised mutant black metal, the grinding industrialized horror of Filth-era Swans, the bombastic terror of Cold Meat outfits like In Slaughter Natives, but those were all subsumed into Gnaw Their Tongues's twisted form, stitching these aspects of death industrial and doom and black metal into symphonies of madness and debasement and agony.

The first disc is mostly comprised of the 2008 For All Slaves...A Song Of False Hope EP that came out on Burning World Records, a six song blast of garbled, hateful screams bleeding across plumes of haunting French horns and sorrow-filled strings, that sad orchestral beauty quickly becoming twisted and torn apart by Mories' plodding, blown-out black doom. Drums lurch and stumble through a haze of dungeon reverb, as fragments of obscure samples are cut apart and stitched into haunting loops and melodies, while mad choirs howl in the depths as they go blind with the sight of surfacing abominations. This stuff remains some of his most harrowing material, the tracks stumbling blindly into each other, malformed malevolent death-dirges that lumber with a putrid mindless power, erupting into gales of almost free-jazz style drumming within a storm of corrupted electronics and terrifying atonal strings. And yet glimmers of a strange transcendent beauty break through the gruesome blackened riffage and rabid screaming, fuzz-shrouded melodies that swarm up from the charnel depths of tracks like "A Fiery Deluge", rays of elegiac power that break upon the inchoate nightmares that scuttle and scurry through each track. The EP climaxes with the clattering black metal of "For All Slaves...A Song Of False Hope II", a thrashing shamble of distorted bass and hiss-drenched melody that also has a strangely shoegazey feel, akin to his work with Seirom, and one of my favorite GTT tracks out of his whole catalog.

Disc two features even older material, the three-song Horse Drawn Hearse EP from 2006 (originally released as an ultra-limited CDR), and the three-song Preferring Human Skin Over Animal Fur cassette that came out on Epicene Sound System in 2007. Both of these releases marked a developing sound, a more stripped-down version of what Gnaw Their Tongues would eventually become, yet even this formative material is fucking ferocious, most of the tracks clambering across the disc as filthy, noise-damaged doom monstrosities, smeared in bizarre, bleary samples and distant screams, ghostly theremins like something out of a Jess Franco film wisping around the distant Neubatenesque clank of metal. The handful of compilation tracks seethe with as much evil as the EP material, booming war-horns resounding over crushing riffs that uncoil like monstrous oily tentacles, blasts of bone-rattling drone and distorted noise smashing through skittering discordant strings. And the final track is one that virtually no-one has heard before now, a fifteen-minute epic called "Circles Of The Abyss" that was never formally released, vast and dreadful, venturing into dark ambient territory with rolling waves of black orchestral drift, sweeping out into the cosmos across pulsating synths, the sound blotting out the stars, erupting at intervals into blasts of crushing, horn-drenched doom or soaring operatic female voices, as cinematic as anything I've heard from Mories, and a perfect close to this collection.
Comes in digipack packaging, featuring reproductions of Mories's original skin-crawling artwork.