Author: Gay For Gary Oldman
Artist: Dragged Into Sunlight and Gnaw Their Tongues
Label: Prosthetic Records
(ED: Apologies about posting time!)
When a collaboration was announced between one of grind/crust/powerviolence’s most notable bands, and one of my personal favourite experimental blackened noise projects, I was incredibly anxious to hear the kind of nightmarish grotesqueries that would result from such an unholy hybrid. However, when Gnaw Their Tongues released Abyss of Longing Throats in August of last year, it made me apprehensive. Gnaw Their Tongues was well known for the distorted, chaotic noise it is famous for, and Abyss of Longing Throats did not disappoint. However, it was far more structured and featured more conventional extreme metal instrumentation than previously. In my Fetid Dead review of it, I suggested that the project may have finally tipped the scales from being a noise band with occasional use of extreme metal instruments for effect, to being an extreme metal band with occasional uses of noise for effect. The difference may be subtle, but it was there, and it made me wonder what Mories would have to offer this collaboration with Dragged Into Sunlight.
But when the record opened with serial killer Michael Ross describing the murder of one of his victims, I remembered just who the fuck it was that I was listening to.
Balancing noise and electronic elements with conventional organic metal instrumentation is difficult in the best of times, as Gnaw Their Tongues recent release showed. But in a solo project, without needing to balance the contribution of individual members, it is possible. Now, however, we have a pre-existing, fully-membered band in the form of Dragged Into Sunlight. Should the drums be submerged in an industrial beat? Should the guitars be masked behind walls of static? Should the vocalist have distinct lyrics and vocals, or contribute only a kind of distorted, sick wail? Should the bass play an actual bass line, or be used as a percussive blast of chunky noise? These are the questions that become readily obvious as I play the album through for the third time.
It is obvious here that Mories’ contribution is relegated mostly to adding a final, putrid layer of rotten icing on the rigid, hardened crust of cake which the band has constructed. In slower passages such as the sludgy beginning to Strangled With The Cord, the Gnaw Their Tongues influence is obvious in the suffocating, enveloping layer of fuzz permeating the music, filling in the longer spaces between beats with an even greater void. But when the pace picks up to a blasting frenzy, his touch is less obvious. It is still there, and becomes so much more noticeable when switching back to Dragged Into Sunlight’s previous releases. By comparison, this record is dense and powerful. Good speakers are necessary to pick up the lower-end fuzz which acts as the foundation for the whole sound. Other elements make themselves known in the almost Inception-esque BWARM of opener Visceral Repulsion and the impossibly highly pitch-shifted shrieks of Mories.
But it is difficult for me to gauge Mories’ contribution to the overall writing. I do believe he does make more vocal contributions here, though I can’t be sure that the anonymous ‘T’ isn’t merely experimenting with a greater range. I can’t be sure that the eerie backing guitar elements aren’t Mories himself rather than ‘A’. Did he co-write the structure of the songs, or merely add his own take to the existing structures? Does it matter? Should the quality of the record be judged on the breakdown of contributions, or just as a whole? Well, I can’t help but think that I should be looking at this as a question of “what does this collaboration have to offer that the separate projects could not individually achieve?”
For Dragged Into Sunlight, the answer is obvious. Even with his more superficial contributions, the dense fuzz added to the end of Omniscienza or the static and whining over the start of Alchemy in the Subyear elevate this to being easily the most eerie and oppressive release which Dragged Into Sunlight have ever released. Unfortunately, with the absence of Mories, it may be the best they ever release. This record both sets the standard for vile music in the crust genre, but shows how dependent it is on the sampling from an experienced engineer. Gnaw Their Tongues, however, has been more vile, more distorted, more violent and chaotic, and more anxiety-inducing on even his weaker releases.
And so how do I assess this? Is this record a fair split of equal influences between the two projects? If so, it is the best record Dragged Into Sunlight has released, and possibly the weakest of Gnaw Their Tongues. If nothing else, I’ll reward it for the accessible way in which hardcore crust and grind is bringing in otherwise unlistenable noise elements.
- Gay for Gary Oldman
Check them out here: https://draggedintosunlight-official.bandcamp.com/