Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Gnaw Their Tongues - L’Arrivée de la Terne Mort Triomphante (2010)

artist: Gnaw Their Tongues
release: L’Ar­rivée de la Terne Mort Tri­om­phante
year of release: 2010
format: CD, LP
label: Candle­light, Cru­cial Blast, Burn­ing World
dur­a­tion: 44:49

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Frisi­a’s pride - and per­haps that of the entire Neth­er­lands - when it comes to exper­i­mental musical ter­ror is without a doubt Gnaw Their Tongues, a pro­ject of Mor­ies de Jong. This year’s album, bear­ing the epic title L’Ar­rivée de la Terne Mort Tri­om­phante, forms one of the high­lights of Gnaw Their Tongues dis­co­graphy thus far, with its exquis­itely bal­anced com­bin­a­tion of neo­clas­sical grandeur and dashes of mar­tial, indus­trial, and extreme metal.

This styl­istic mix­ture is not new in itself. At the very least, we were able to hear it in action on 2009’s album All the Dread Mag­ni­fi­cence of Per­versity. How­ever, I do believe that the way these ele­ments are arranged on L’Ar­rivée is just a bit more refined. The album as a whole has a more con­sist­ent flow, mak­ing it more than a col­lec­tion of five sep­ar­ate tracks, and that is after all what the album as a format is for.

The album jumps straight into the action with its title track, launch­ing full-blown choirs, orches­tral swells and indus­trial per­cus­sion. More impulses later on come from mad screams, drums, and gui­tars that blend seam­lessly with the other instru­ments, sug­gest­ing a heavy metal sound, without put­ting it centre stage. The album basic­ally oscil­lates between intense parts and subtler pieces, con­stantly main­tain­ing a cap­tiv­at­ing flow full of over­power­ing emo­tions.

L’Ar­rivée is cer­tainly not Mor­ies’ sick­est album to date. Earlier works dwelled heav­ily on tor­ture, sad­ism, and bizarre rituals, while this one is con­cerned, basic­ally, with Death. And that is more than impress­ive enough. The great noth­ing might well be one of the most inspir­ing con­cepts in exist­ence, and even though it is most likely no more than noth­ing, for that very reason, we sur­round it with an aura that is omin­ous and awe-inspir­ing. The arrival of death is her­al­ded by an onrush­ing pres­ence that fore­tells that all will be lost. In this sense, death can come as a blow, but also as a release. I think this ambi­gu­ity is expressed beau­ti­fully by this album as well; there is a strong pres­ence of viol­ence and death as a destruct­ive force, and also of sad­ness and loss in the more intro­spect­ive pas­sages. But some­thing in the music reminds us that the destruc­tion and loss that death brings also relieves us of all our bur­dens. This spec­trum of feel­ing runs through the entire album, per­haps cul­min­at­ing loc­ally in the cent­ral track, which to me lit­er­ally shows us death in all its inef­fable grandeur.

This work of death is an excel­lent album on many points; not only as an ori­ginal piece of dark, dark music that suc­cess­fully crosses genre bound­ar­ies, but also as a high point in the musical out­put of De Jong so far, and as a suc­cess­ful concept album with a power­ful image, single yet man­i­fold. Finally, the present­a­tion leaves little to be desired. L’Ar­rivée is released with subtle and fit­ting cover art in col­our on CD, released by Cru­cial Blast in the US, and by Candle­light in Europe. There is also a fine vinyl edi­tion with black & white gate­fold cover, and either black or gold vinyl, released by Dutch Burn­ing World Records. A highly recom­mend work for lov­ers of extreme exper­i­mental music, and def­in­itely one of the darkest - and best - albums of the year.

Reviewed by O.S.


1. L’ar­rivée De La Terne Mort Tri­om­phante (9:49)
2. Les Anges Frémis­sent Devant La Mort (11:35)

3. La Mort Dans Toute Son Inef­fable Grandeur (8:12)
4. Le Chant De La Mort (7:02)
5. Le Trône Blanc De La Mort (8:11)