Like a nightmare trapped within the confines of an Ouroboros, Gnaw Their Tongues capture the essence of minimalism but also the elements key to evoking discomfort, anxiety, and dread. The terror induced in each of the band’s creations is subliminal, like the tendrils of an alien organism gently probing the deepest recesses of your brain, where not even you dare venture.
L’Arrivee de la Terne Mort Triomphante (“The Arrival of a Lifeless but Triumphant Death”) is this one-man band’s fifth album, one sure to challenge connoisseurs of even the most eclectic approaches to the genre of heavy metal. The mastermind behind this CD is Mories (De Magia Veterum, Ophiuchus, and Aderlating), who handles all the instruments. The CD consists of only five tracks, but each composition is long, clocking in at an average of more than eight minutes.
Gnaw Their Tongues transcend genres, creating their own distinct sound. Descriptors include ambient black metal, funeral doom metal, industrial drone, and so on, with some elements of each genre serving as a minor explanation while feeding on the others. Instrumentation relies heavily on keyboards and percussion, with the drumming looming in the distance like a hideous parade before a battle is set loose. Monk-like choirs, industrial emanations, bizarre samples, occasional shrieks and other vocal gurgles, and droning, abused guitars are all on display, brought together almost unwillingly to share the same stage. There’s even a bass guitar that takes inspiration from the likes of early Pink Floyd or even Soft Machine.
As for the keyboards, washes tend to drone on forever, but some sequences (such as those on the track “La Mort Dans Toute son Ineffable Grandeur”) consist of more classical arrangements, bolstered by the bombastic percussion on display. When they appear, lead vocals consist of demon-styled shrieks, but unlike most bands, Gnaw Their Tongues keep the vocals at the same level as the instrumentation.
Lyrically, L’Arrivee de la Terne Mort Triomphante is a concept album about death (“morte”). Songs describe the white throne of death, address the song of death, and praise death’s majesty and grandeur. Of all the songs, “Le Chant de la Morte” is the most conventional, tapping into elements of black metal and industrial drone to create its effective superstructure.
For many listeners, L’Arrivee de la Terne Mort Triomphante will be little more than noise or frustratingly dull drone. However, fans of the outré of the genre, where bands such as Sunn O))), Velvet Cacoon, and even Throbbing Gristle practice their art, will find much to uncover and savor on this CD. Under the anger and fear there is joy, sadness, selfishness, and self-discovery. All you have to do is let these find you.