As you are undoubtedly aware, a team of battle-scarred (yet remarkably personable) scribes have recently moved into our humble Village. First out of the gate is the mighty Ancient Hand. Best give him your undivided attention voluntarily, lest he demand it. - Mgmt
Black Tongue’s sound is made to be the heaviest thing in the known universe. There’s no flash or unnecessary showiness in their music; it simply wants to be as heavy as it possibly can. On their last record (2015’s “The Unconquerable Dark”), Black Tongue did an incredible job blending funeral doom and deathcore to create a deep, heavy, and monumental record that bridged the gap between two very different sub-genres of metal. Now, in 2018, Black Tongue have undertaken a follow-up release that seeks to solidify their sound and add new elements on top of it.
Right as the record kicks off, it’s clear that Black Tongue is trying some new things out. The ambient guitar work that builds to an ominous breakdown drips with dark atmosphere. The opening track itself, “The Eternal Return to Ruin,” features lyrics that elevate the album to heavenly heights, while also featuring vocals that sound as though they were birthed from the deepest pit of Hell. The lyrical themes are consistent throughout much of the release; the afterlife, pain, death, hopelessness, and the abuse of God and people are all used to create one of the darkest records of the year.
This record also features heavy influences from black metal that the band pushes to the forefront of many songs. Most notably, the beginning of “The Cathedral” burns with the same intensity of Norway’s churches in the early 90's.
In addition to wearing black metal influences on their sleeve, Black Tongue covers Celtic Frost’s classic “A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh,” and, to my surprise, they do a wonderful job. Singing is retained for this song (its only instance on the entire record), but Black Tongue still manages to make it their own with their signature sound towards the end of the track. Other songs to note are the punishing “Contrapasso” and the crushing “Parting Soliloquy.” The former also makes use of black metal influences from shrieks to tremolo-picked guitars, and the latter features some of the most haunting vocals I have heard all year with the repetition of “Please don’t leave me here” layered over harsh noise that sends shivers down my spine after multiple listens.
Overall, this record brings Black Tongue to the next level. It is very clear that they mean business, and their goal of blending these two seemingly contrasting sounds of deathcore and doom metal can still have even more sounds added into it. With a release this varied in metal influences, lyrical quality, and consistency between songs, I think it’s safe to say that Black Tongue have created one of the most punishing, dark, and stellar metal albums of the year.
Written by: Ancient Hand