A shambling monstrosity Woven from charred bones and infernal technology, stitched with gristle and exposed wiring. Hymns For The Broken, Swollen And Silent lurches like a grotesque assemblage of tortured flesh and mangled machinery, revealing the latest nightmare from Dutch fiend Gnaw Their Tongues. After more than a decade, the band continues to disturb with its uniquely dark and depraved blend of black metal, industrial and noise, and the eight-song Hymns shows Gnaw Their Tongues to be in prime killing mode.
Coming in the wake of a series of live performances starting in 2015, this new material from GTT mastermind Mories (Seirom, Cloak Of Altering, Mors Sonat) seems to find him tapping into a heavier, more violent rhythmic element as well as a more pronounced use of synthesizers, producing yet another step in the evolution of GTT's sound. Throughout the album, the harsh drum programming offers a mixture of cacophonous blast beats and grueling, glacial detonations; the sickening, tumescent groove that surges through "Hold High The Banners Of Truth Among The Swollen Dead" resembles something approximating a vile chopped n' screwed dubstep / blackened doom abomination, while on tracks like "Speared Promises", it slips into a hideously dissonant deathcrawl where those drums almost seem to be shorting out. Elsewhere, "Frail As The Stalking Lions" contorts into hellishly warped synth-sludge, and the hallucinatory weirdness of the title track delves into a black pit of ghastly ambience, gleaming synth and malfunctioning, off-time drum programming, which becomes possessed by bizarre operatic vocals that drift amid the anguished shrieking.
Through all of this, the band's signature use of unsettling samples and blasts of orchestral power is woven through the mix, turning each track into a seething mass of claustrophobic horror. Eruptions of ultra-frenzied blackened blast and floor-shaking depth-charge reverberations, ravenous, psychotic vocals and swells of choral despair, distorted electronics and gut-churning bass riffs, mournful horns and weirdly layered female operatic singing - yeah, Hymns delivers on the promise of chaotic horror that one expects from Gnaw Their Tongues, evoking foul, corrupted imagery while also (as usual) streaked with striking moments of warped, morbid beauty.
CD edition comes in a gatefold digisleeve.