There are many reviewers here at Moshville, each having their own genre of music that they wish to review. Maybe the reviewer wishes to experiment and try something in the next sub genre or maybe they wish to try something different to see what the fuss is all about; however, what most reviewers and listeners cannot comprehend is that Gnaw Their Tongues are unclassifiable, incomprehensible and maybe even unlistenable.
Most reviewers would not even attempt to give Gnaw Their Tongues a listen but I have dabbled in Maurice de Jong’s back catalogue to know enough of what lies ahead with this release. What you cannot deny is the sheer brutality, extremism and primal affair we have here with Hymns for the Broken, Swollen and Silent. This will test anyone willing to give this a spin to the extreme. However, after a few listens, things begin to come together and you see where sole member Maurice is in a constant battle with his inner demons and this is his way of unleashing them into the world.
Gnaw Their Tongues have an extensive back catalogue since their inception in 2004, with Maurice releasing over 30 tortured moans of agony in that time. Gnaw Their Tongues consists of synthesisers, bass guitar and Maurice’s screams with the closest comparison I have being that of Varg Vikernes of Burzum fame in his Aske days. I think the term was pissing razors and that sums up Maurice’s vocals perfectly. However, they are relatively low in the mix of things, therefore, not putting the listener off.
Highlight of the album and the opener “Hold High the Banners of Truth Among the Swollen Dead”, starts off with a visual that you are opening the door to the asylum, entering the office and pressing the button which then opens the doors for all the inmates to escape. Screaming vocals, haunting vocals and child’s vocals are on display here over a pummelling alarm, realising what you have done in setting the inmates free only to seal your fate. I have listened to this track several times and it goes without saying, it freaks me out every time. From all out assault to dark ambience within a heart beat, Maurice was clearly an inmate at this asylum.
“The Seared Promises” starts off militaristically with screaming vocals before building up the pace to all out black metal and blast beats and screaming vocals and anarchy. The only thing close to this that I have heard is the brilliant MZ412 when they unleashed “Feasting on Khristian Blood”, but even this is more raw and primal. “Frail as the Stalking Lion” begins in a very industrial fashion in the vein of Godflesh, before ending with all out assault. Cinematic piece “Your Kingdom Shrouded in Blood” slows things right down, giving the listener a chance to breathe again after listening to previous tracks. Mournful choirs, down tuned bass and bombastic and desperate cries from Maurice make this the most downbeat track on the album.
Title Track “Hymn for the Broken, Swollen and Silent” is also a particular highlight, starting off with deep low sounding frequencies and low end vocals. This track for the most part goes at a snail’s pace allowing the listener to inhale the demons that Maurice is evoking. Do not listen to this track alone in the dark. The closest thing I can compare this track to is Sweden’s In Slaughter Natives with haunting vocals.
Gnaw Their Tongues have solved all elements of torturing human beings with this release. Place the victim in a darkened room and play this album loud and on repeat and they will tell you everything you want to know. Hymns for the Broken, Swollen and Silent is clearly not for the faint of heart as it will scare you no matter how many times you will listen to it. All the people that are into death metal or black metal and think that they are extreme can simply think again. You don’t even come close to what Maurice and Gnaw Their Tongues unleash.
A highly recommended release and knowing Maurice, he is already working on the next album of hatred, despair and haunted dreams. Gnaw Their Tongues will be appearing in Glasgow at the North of the Wall Festival on April 14-15th.
Hymns for the Broken, Swollen and Silent is out now