One does not need to go much beyond the origin of Gnaw Their Tongues name in order to understand what they are getting into. The expression comes from the Book of Revelation and describes one of the punishments in hell. In essence, what Mories, the multi-instrumentalist and composer behind Gnaw Their Tongues, has been doing with this insane project is producing a a very detailed description of hell (interpret this word however you want.) From one release to the next, Mories expands the sound along with his vision, leading to last year’s amazing Abyss of Longing Throats and now to Hymns for the Broken, Swollen and Silent.
The first aspect that grabs you is the unearthly, infernal ambiance that this record kicks off with. It does not matter if a minimal background is set, and there is not much movement, the parts always retain their sinister, torturous outlook. Based on dark ambient extensions, Mories incorporates a gut-wrenching feeling beat by beat, but what really drives it home is the industrial progression that Gnaw Their Tongues incorporate. As if the dark ambiance was not enough, this guy brings in the mechanical tone of industrial, building the spine of his music, bringing an aura similar to the early days of Godflesh, with the dystopian essence at the front.
Hymns For The Broken, Swollen And Silent will see release December 9th; pre-orders for the vinyl are available via Consouling Sounds HERE, cassette pre-orders at Tartarus Records HERE, and the digital version sees release through GTT’s Bandcamp, and a CD version will see release through Crucial Blast.
While dark ambient and industrial create the basis of the sound, the outbreaks of the record move towards the further extreme sides of black metal and noise. The noise element is able to smear the parts, provide more character and enhance the dominance of the industrial patterns, while the black metal essence sets them ablaze. The changes to black metal modes is truly awe-inspiring, as Mories plunges the knife deeper into the wound, with vehement guitar parts, blastbeats and a staggering ferocity. The extreme vocals that accompany most of these moments are brilliant, cutthroat and with ample distortion applied, they make the process that more realistic and palpable.
The looming aspect that is felt throughout the record, however, is a neo-classical leaning. Of course, that does not mean a melodic implementation of strings and grand operatic sound, but rather an extreme amount of dissonance and precision that is bound perfectly with the industrial machinations and the dark ambient sceneries. The inclusion of operatic vocals further establishes this approach, and grants a sense of grandeur. It is a fine balance that needs to be kept, but Mories makes all the right choices and takes all the right turns when it comes to cherry-picking his parts.
It all ends up in making Hymns for The Broken, Swollen and Silent a record of asphyxiating qualities. Every little piece has its place inside the grand scheme – from the dissonant orchestrations and the industrial beats, down to the voice samples and the child-like vocals, which are by far the most fucked up aspect of this work. It is quite simple and easy to categorize Gnaw Their Tongues as a no-wave project, and consider them close relatives to legendary acts like Coil; however, I think that the truth is that they are closer, at least in the case of this record, to artists such as Sinjuku Thief (particularly Medea) and especially In Slaughter Natives – and that is certainly not bad company by any means.