The World Isn’t Ready For Black Tongue’s 'The Unconquerable Dark'
Watching the flailing limbs of the crowd, when Hull’s heavyweights Black Tongue supported Suicide Silence in November wasn’t like watching a gig. It felt more like a war.
Witnessing the ferocity of the live show, it seemed impossible that the same intensity could be kept up on record, but as their full length debut 'The Unconquerable Dark' shows, not only can they prove their worth on record, they can be more Hellish and disgustingly heavy than any band you’ve ever seen.
It’s appropriate enough for this band to tour with deathcore groups, but there’s more than the standard traits of the genre across this album. The heaps of distortion layered in the production makes Eddie Pickard and James Harrison’s guitar work feel like a crushing fusion of The Acacia Strain and Neurosis.
Opening with "Plague Worship" shows off these traits as the brutality is delivered with a malicious downtuning at a sluggish pace, reminiscent of when you watch those Youtube videos of Slayer songs slowed down by 800%. Listeners are also acquainted with vocalist Alex Teyen and his general misanthropy, as he expresses a need: “to wash away the scent of man.” Can you blame him? Most men do smell weird.
Naturally, this tone carries out across the album as the darkness penetrates deeper. “The cold eased its grips on my bones, this sun was the first I’d known,” Alex growls on "L’appel du Vide", echoing the sentiments of Bane, while Pickard and Harrison begin churning out grooves that would fit nicely on Meshuggah’s Nothing, still backed by layerings of grit.
As morose bludgeoning summons musical hellscapes, which includes a scathing cameo from Eddie Hermida, the culmination in closer "I’m So Tired of Sighing". "Please Lord Let it Be Night" shows why this band should also be feared as the final two minutes take you further into the depths of Hades via latin chanting and dabbles of orchestra before ending with what might be the slowest breakdown ever written. In a world where many heavy bands are using the style to vent their own personal anguish, this is a reminder that heavy metal is the music to go to if you ever want to hear evil.
Nothing on 'The Unconquerable Dark' is safe for the faint-of-heart and even those more acquainted with modern bands genuinely keeping metal dark will find a new kind of negativity in this nine song collection. Black Tongue constantly disturb and discomfort listeners to the point where you could call this the album equivalent of The Human Centipede, which unfortunately, I mean as a compliment.
Every metal fan needs this record, but unless you were into darkness, you’re not ready for it.
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Words by Andy Davidson