Victoria, British Columbia, Canada hasn’t quite been a significant marker on my map of places to recognize for strong musical releases, but after living through the barbarous, carnal mass that is Language of the Night by Shibboleth, it may as well be one of the areas I’m most focused on for the future of music.
Language of the Night is a nine song embrace of fleshed out feedback, gritty audio, and full on folie à deux. Shibboleth channel all the energy from their two beings and compress it beyond belief to make a release that’s cohesive, impressive, fierce, disparaging and intellectual. Matt MacLean and Devin Bernard have a knack for lyrical composition and sound demolition. Thrash, punk, noise, rock, distortion, hardcore, black metal, crust and doom all find their ways into this blend at one point or another, making for a seriously interesting presentation of a genre gradient. Strings of deep, throaty vocals wrapped around each swiveling guitar riff and drum fill make for a deviant, edge of your seat experience.
As it opens, the release is ominous, remarkably dark and foreboding. This element of headphone worship around that of “evil” is not lost at any given moment from front to back. Beginning with Divide and Conquer and ending with Out comes a physical manifestation of what true desolate, angry dissatisfaction feels like.
The meat of these tracks’ vibes come from Matt MacLean’s accidentally harrowing voice. This delivery and enunciation has the entire essence of exactly how your thoughts of anger reminiscing on mistakes when kept awake at the very small hours of the morning feel, defining a true Language of the Night. The guitar and bass work of Devin Bernard becoming a jaunty dance of recycled chords and riffs make for not a tired, hackneyed, and boring album, but rather a metaphorically rich and beautiful one. Thinking of true remarks made by and under the moonlight, there is a display of musical proficiency seen in that of swaying trees, the twinkle of stars, and the carrying of clouds in and out of our very dim light source.
Not all is shown as majestic in the night, though. This album has all the sharpness you feel around dimly lit alleyways, or driving in torrential downpour, or walking alone by rumored murderous woods. All aspects of real life at night are melted down and channeled into one massive release. One that is speaking a language I would be honored to start studying. There’s no relenting, no breaks, just pain and rawness that manifests into noise interludes, shrieks of despair, and wondrous tracks. Overbearing, hazy atmospheres over dangerous abandoned needles and hiding creatures develop the sounds so much beyond what I could think possible that I find myself enjoying this release more and more and more with each listen.
Nine tracks total and over forty minutes of length makes for a perfect jog around a haunted neighborhood just after the sun sets. Put your shoes on and run after the mysterious Shibboleth in what I’m sure is going to be a marvelous journey into the future of music. Some highlights from this release for me are Liminal, Phantoms and Lifeless Ruins. The lyrics in these specific songs really hit me correctly with their intellectual value, the development, and the uses of solid metaphor make my English-loving heart want to burst.
Some great places to check out and keep up with Shibboleth are their Bandcamp and Facebook pages. I know that I’ll be watching carefully hoping for some kind of miraculous tour that gets them from Victoria, British Columbia all the way down to Northeast Florida.