The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Gnaw Their Tongues
All The Dread Magnificence Of Perversity Noel Gardner , December 8th, 2009 09:03

I’m prepared to be proven wrong on this point, but I put it to you that you can take any two recognised genres of music anywhere and, with enough exploration, locate a point – a band, a record, a song – where they intersect. It might take some circular logic or questionable theorising, but, y’know, everything’s got a common ancestor, maaan. With this in mind, if anything it’s surprising that it took so long for the worlds of black metal and noise to walk to a common beat. Oppressive, harshly-recorded unintelligible nerd machismo made by people in black clothes who take themselves far too seriously and exhibit tendencies towards rolling-my-damn-eyes right-wing Nietzscheism and/or social Darwinism? If that was a personal ad we’d be talking marriage material.

Like I say, though, it’s really only in the last few years that there’s been a strong tendency for true-skool noise heads to fuck with BM, or vice versa. Aside from a few lone wolves like Abruptum, Brighter Death Now and MZ.412, the people who have probably been the main matchmakers for the two scenes are Varg ‘Burzum’ Vikernes – whose ambient stuff largely came about because he decided that any music incorporating rhythms was overly Negro-influenced, this probably being the stupidest philosophy in the entirety of human history – and Sunn 0))), whose numerous on-disc collaborators include Malefic and Attila Csihar (BM) plus Merzbow and John Wiese (noise).

Less celebrated, but increasingly so, is Gnaw Their Tongues, a singular Belgian named Moires who has been releasing music since 2006 – often in minute quantities. Yet All The Dread Magnificence Of Perversity, his second album for the well-distributed Crucial Blast label, is up there with his finest works to date (and there’s the best part of a sleepless day’s worth of listening out there). His compositions tend to lurk at some pressure point uniting atmospheric black metal, industrially-damaged analogue noise, Hammer Horror type soundtracks and the slug-speed metalbashing agony of Swans or Khanate. The nine tracks on this album are not made by someone without a sense of humour – when Moires titles tracks ‘My Orifices Await Ravaging’ and ‘The Stench Of Dead Horses On My Breath And The Vile Of Existence On My Hands’, he is at least in part satirising himself – yet they are uniformly uncomfortable to listen to, as even the quieter tracks such as ‘Rife With Deep Teeth Marks’ find disembodied voices poking through the sootblanket of ultra-reverbed atonal fuzz.

Sometimes, it sounds somewhat like an extended preamble from a Mayhem or Darkthrone song, leaving you teetering on the verge of a heaven-burning blast that never arrives. Elsewhere, for example the title track, a sufficiently recognizable riff coalesces to acknowledge GTT’s funeral doom leanings: Thergothon or Root, perhaps. The general approach to industrialism, a much-abused genre term which did, somewhere around its inception, refer to stuff that actually sounded like the most cacophonous steelworks, is akin to perspiring Midwest goodtimers like Wolf Eyes and Hair Police – unpretentious fans of distorted rock’n’roll rhythms working this into abstracted hails to Throbbing Gristle and SPK.

No, a laundry list of namecheckable, varyingly canonical bands doesn’t in itself add up to a killer musical equation. Yet the amount of ground Gnaw Their Tongues covers, while achieving a certain stubborn musical inertia, is truly impressive. ll The Dread Magnificence Of Perversity is gruesomely involving and, if my own experience is anything to go by, may lead you to try and hear everything Moires has flung into the void under this name.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.