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LIVE REPORT: Gnaw Their Tongues/Dragged Into Sunlight
Mat Colegate , February 17th, 2016 14:36

Mat Colegate reports from London's The Borderline

Photo by Grietje de Haan

On reflection, there were better choices of venue for Gnaw Their Tongues first London show than The Borderline. It would have been more appropriate for Mories' first gig in the smoke to have taken place in a sewer strewn with rodent corpses, or maybe an abandoned mental hospital festooned with inexplicable meathooks and broken clocks, than at the Borderline's curious cross between a country and western fun pub and the dropship from Aliens. None of the audience have been deterred though, and the venue is hot and heaving when the creator of tracks such as 'Gazing At Me Through Tears Of Urine', 'My Womb Is Barren And I Want Revenge' and the phenomenally titled 'The Stench Of Dead Horses On My Breath And The Vile Of Existence On My Hands' saunters onto the stage with his two companions and proceeds to invoke Old Testament deities and more modern shibboleths alike.

There is, however, a problem. The sound is a total mess. Whether it's down to the venue's acoustics or a soundman's aversion to anything involving laptops – there are two, both responsible for the majority of the noises coming from the stage – to begin with it is impossible to make anything out with any definition. Things improve as the show progresses, and it seems to make quite a bit of difference where you stand in the room, but these sorts of problems don't create the right atmosphere for the kind of bludgeoning, hysterical assault that Mories has been laying down for eight albums and countless EPs and collaborations over the last ten years.

However, when it hits, it does so with an undeniable, sepulchral force. Warped and demonic choirs chant blasphemous hosannas while Mories gibbers and shrieks like a man being pulled into a lake of boiling gore. Occasional blastbeats crack through the surface of the sound but these are quickly subsumed between shockwave eruptions of tectonic sub bass and diseased strings. It becomes apparent how tightly composed Mories music is. Even with the sub-par sound, the detail and amount of layering and composition that goes into each track is enlighteningly apparent, and Mories' voice is a terrific and traumatising instrument, his screeches evoking a level of panic and terror that is practically cosmic in its magnitude. The sound of a lone human dwarfed by the terrifying and infinite heaven and hell of an unfeeling universe. It's just a shame that the man behind the desk was similarly oblivious.

However there are few such problems for Dragged Into Sunlight. Whether it's their more traditional line up – guitars, bass, drums, vocals, - or having a more sympathetic head stationed behind the mixer, nothing gets in the way of their customarily furious show. Stage festooned with animal skulls and lit candles – which I must confess did make me wonder about fire safety, further evidence of my own advancing necrotism –, dry ice billowing and backs to the audience, the band proceed to give further evidence of why they're such a trepanning live proposition.

Because by Lucifer's Hellish Wind, Dragged Into Sunlight are tight. It's becomes obvious during the course of the show that the reason no one seems to be able to slot them into one of the myriad of metallic sub-genres – doom, thrash, black, whatever – is that they can play all said genres and often do within the course of a single song, thus managing to utterly transcend them. Galloping guitars take sudden swerves into treacly, molasses-thick doom, while wintry invocations perch gargoyle-like atop ramparts of chunky, 'Children Of The Grave'-esque rifferama, all melded together seamlessly without fuss and without self-indulgence. It's one hell of a display.

There's an arrogance to Dragged Into Sunlight's demonstrations of power and total control that suit their subject matter perfectly. These are horrifying examinations of the vicious and perverse delivered with Hannibal Lecter-levels of professionalism and disdain. Not a hair out of place, ruthless, cynical and dispassionate. A finely tuned Merlin engine in a panzer chassis, ploughing through the fields of the damned. Dragged Into Sunlight soundtrack the roiling turbulence of a diseased century with perfect clarity and merciless, unyielding force.         

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