Wednesday, September 21, 2011

from Drachten, Holland

So I'm a bit of a fanboy. There's no harm in that when you're a fanboy of someone who only does awesome stuff. I remain unbiased, I'll be the first to strike Mories down with the might of my, erm, keyboard whenever he does something that sucks. But the fact that Gnaw Their Tongues is one of my favourite projects/bands of the past decade, and that Aderlating and De Magia Veterum (there's a review on that link, check it out) follow close behind with their own individual personality oozing through as well, it's becoming clearer and clearer that the man is seemingly uncapable of suckage.

So now, as if there isn't enough abject horror spewing forth from his mind, Mories has decided to revive his ancient Ophiuchus demon, dormant since the late 90s (although the stuff was only released in 2009 and 2010), give it a new name and a fresh coat of torture paint. The result is Cloak Of Altering, of which he is as usual the sole member, and its debut album 'The Night Comes Illuminated With Death'. Look at the shiny cover.

Ain't it pretty? If you don't stare at it long enough to notice the skulls you might consider it so. However, beneath that deceptively colourful exterior, beats the heart of a malignant, merciless beast. Much has been made of the Arcturus or DHG comparisons, but this is far beyond that. Sure, the usage of synths is grandiose and a big part of the album is wash with orchestration and even warped electronic beats and sounds, but this grandiloquence only serves to accentuate the underlying horror. The frenzied, subterranean black metal guitars, with its feverish tremolo picking, the hideous surges just when you can pick up a hint of beauty shrapnel like on 'The Lustful Façade Of The Madrigals', and above all, the devastating shrieks and agonizing screams that bring down any hint of pleasantness you might have thought you've heard. Not even the early-Emperor tag does it justice, unless they get back together and re-record the demos with Ihsahn lashed to a breaking wheel. If anything, this is the corpse of Arcturus after the executioner, the rats, the cockroaches and finally the worms have gone through it, lying broken, dead and raped (in that order) on the floor of a filthy underground dungeon while Wagner's 'Der Ring des Nibelungen' resonates somewhere above the surface.

Having said that, this collection of razorblade epics is probably one of the best entry points you can have into the vast work of this remarkable musician and artist (yeah, did you know his artwork is amazing? Here, here, here and here is some evidence) - while harsh and unforgiving, there's at least hints, like pieces of flesh still hanging from a bone, of structure and musicality, unlike the formless white bone that is Gnaw Their Tongues. In any case, it's not for the squeamish. Let those listen to all the harmless crap that's out there.

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