Black Tongue has been on my radar since I listened to their maddening track “Eclipse” from ‘Born Hanged/Falsifier’ and almost lost my sanity. The Hull metallers are a furious lot, and it reflects in their music, especially in their latest release ‘The Unconquerable Dark’ which their first official full length album is; also their first after signing worldwide to Century Media. All I can say after a good few listens is that the world is not ready for this.
Album opener ‘Plague Worship’ wastes no time and spares no mercy with an intro of mean down tuned guitars and leads into a bombardment of heaviness that will instantly grab a hold of your very being. Slow, crushing and unforgiving, the leads come in strong and powerful continuing on the groove-laden “In The Wake of the Wolf”. There’s an underlying melodic tone throughout sections of this track that make it all the more interesting, especially for the likes of ‘Black Tongue’. ‘Young Gloom’ is the epitome of deception. A seemingly soothing ambient intro which suddenly transcends into a ridiculously heavy series of death core driven riffs that triggers instant brain-rattling. There’s absolutely nothing ‘gloomy’ about this one the guitars adding a tinge of melody around the 4:15 mark before dropping back into a slow-paced barrage of brutality.
‘L’appel du Vide’ , a personal favourite, is an absolute banger of a track that ventures into the realms of black metal drummer Aaron Kitcher hammering out blast beat after blast beat followed by some fat bass lines – aural assault at its finest while the sheer explosive stomps on ‘Vermintide’ featuring Eddie Hermida of Suicide Silence fame and his signature screams is filled with heaps of transitions and massive breakdowns. The lyrical content exhibits some very powerful yet sinister song writing – another trademark of the band. “But had I known the collared throats, the hand on winters’ wrist; heard the command of your lying lips.” A straight up face melter of fierce vocals on ‘Prince of Ash’ and ‘Masquerade’ continue the low, down tuned nature of Black Tongue’s sound, somehow being one of the most charming ( if I may) factors to their music, Alex Teyen’s vocal range progressively becoming more gruesome and goosebumps-inducing. The guitars lean over to a more djent-like quality on the former, while ‘Masquerade’ begins with an odd doomish intro and leads into another heavy number.
“A Pale Procession ii: Death March” has yet another slow, ruthless crushing intro, it’s almost as if it’s in slow motion. The drums, the vocals are intense, spewing aggressive guttural lows that make you want to break anything in the vicinity. The end of that track is both stunning and annoying! The heavy poundings fade into nothingness leaving you completely in awe and wanting more. The album ends with what I thought was the best title for a track I’ve seen in a while – “I’m so Tired of Sighing, Please Lord: Let it be Night” a fitting name as sighing is far from what Black Tongue do. A whispered section at 3:13 which sounds like Latin is a sort of special effect of sorts.
My only gripe with this album would be the fact that it can get repetitive to a certain extent – lacking that creativity I found extremely appealing in Black Tongue’s EP’s. But it’s their experimentation with a darker sound and the background atmospherics that did stand out on ‘The Unconquerable Dark’. This album needs to be looked at objectively with no comparisons made. There is no shred of doubt however that ‘Black Tongue’ know exactly what direction they’re going in terms of their style and sound, and that they are one of the heaviest bands around.