Tongues – Hreilia (2017) REVIEW

This Danish band have found an impressive middle-ground between the expressive atmospheric riffing of modern shape-shifting black metal and the hefty complexity of occult death metal. ‘Hreilia’ creates it’s own fjord scraping avant-death and roller-coaster of  mutated, refined atmospherics that are reigned in with boulder-tossing heavy metal intensity. The heart of the music wrestles modernist death/doom metal crunchiness with flows of head-spinning psychedelic black metal force. My own genre-determinant heuristics aside, Tongues have expanded upon their eruptive, beastly sound with nigh gymnastic precision that the compositions might take several listens to warm up to.

‘Hreilia’ is as challenging as it is restfully sour and menacing. From the Thou-like build of “Perrenial Waves” to the sponge-like psychedelic guitars of “…And the Ever Watchful Clouds” Tongues put composition above gimmickry writing a track-list of incredible standalone epics that make for one majestic whole. The finale of standouts “Grove of Mitridate” and it’s hooky riffs alongside black/doom howling and 9 minute atmospheric black metal skin-crawler “Acumen Numinous” are so perfectly paired that I found myself looping the two tracks for several hours. ‘Hreilia’ deftly calls for your attention and then carries your mind out into a sea of solar flares and dead planets; the spaced-out and the brutally direct make for 2017’s best loud-quiet-loud dynamic in extreme metal.

Tongues are without comparison in their blend of stylistic sound and incredible compositions. Their debut isn’t so much forward-thinking as it is outward-expressive as it suffocates you and then sets you free only to be suffocated and released ad infinitum. What initially appeared as yet another avant-shapeless weird-core album from a label that never disappoints is actually one of the most listenable, modern extreme metal albums of the year. Sure, it took several weeks to sink in and permeate my aether but ‘Hreilia’ has quickly become one of my favorite records of 2017.


Artist Tongues
Type Album
Released December 8, 2017
BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp! Follow Tongues on Facebook

Through vast prisms of blackness. 4.0/5.0

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