There are times I swear that I’ve been possessed. Not by Satan, or by demons, ghouls or poltergeists, but by anger. By a visceral, looming bitterness so pure that I swear I could feel it thickening my blood and pushing at my veins. As the corners of my vision turn from faint, rosy pink to a deep, intense red, there was only one feeling–and it’s the same feeling which fuels the crushing, down-tempo hatred behind Hull City’s biggest up-and-coming down-tempo hardcore act, Black Tongue. These British behemoths’ debut EP, Falsifier is a lesson in punctual, angry, sludgy hardcore with devastating slams, intense vocals, and climactic, bone-splintering breakdowns. In fact, this release is so incredulously heavy that upon hearing it, the listener realizes the only thing stopping them from going on a killing spree is the fact that their feet are locked in blocks of aural cement.
From the very beginning of “A Pale Procession,” Black Tongue’s penchant for the deep, down-tuned and down-tempo cannot be denied. Beefy, subterranean slams pour forth from chuggy, groovy guitars, while pounding, looming drums create a solid, incessant canvas which keeps the track moving along. The instrumentation behind Falsifier is so much of the reason that it’s able to rip and tear through flesh and bone. In fact, listening to the crushing heaviness and slamming, punctual and fill-laden drumming is possibly the only way that the listener might relate the act to deathcore superstars Infant Annihilator–Black Tongue guitarist Eddie Pickard and drummer Aaron Kitcher’s other project. In almost every other way, this album is a beast of an entirely different nature. Rather than blisteringly fast and lacerating, Falsifier is home to a slow-killing poison; a slow-burning spice which, before the release is done, will form the listener’s rage into a full-blown blaze.
However, the sludgy, doom-packed sound of fathoms-deep guitars and punchy, pummeling percussion aren’t the only aspects of Black Tongue’s sound which bring spine-shrinking heaviness to the table. The vocals provide a hair-raising, skin-rending punishment which ranges from a beefy, in-your-face mid-range scream to a bellowed, gurgling low growl which gives the listener a full-blown encephalectomy with sheer, no-punches-pulled hatred. The EP’s lead single, “Fauxhammer” does this particularly well, using a lush flora of vocal styles–including the ever-loved “blegh,”–to entice the listener into headbanging heartily. While “Fauxhammer” is of particular vocal relevance, each track makes use of similarly screamed onslaughts, which, while very effective in the short-term, might weigh particularly heavy on the listener after repeated listens. While this might be construed as a form of monotony, it’s also a particularly effective tool used by Black Tongue: it’s weight on the listener’s back brilliantly mirrors the back-busting heaviness which reigns king throughout Falsifier. This is only one part of the dynamic that proves that this release lives up to the group’s well-deserved hype.
Black Tongue’s suffocating vocal attack and demoralizing down-tuned devastation combine brilliantly with the weighty, repetitive nature of the album to create an absolutely incendiary EP. Falsifier is an absolute biblioclast of a release which tears down more than just the ideals of society and the world around us. It tears down the listener’s expectations of a deathcore-down-tempo fusion and rebuilds them with something infinitely more buttressed. The heavily fortified bastion of hatred which is Falsifier is an archetype and an obelisk to the band’s peers; showing them exactly what should be done when combining in-your-face hardcore with absolutely crushing deathcore.
If you’ve always had an ear for deathcore but wanted to be more involved in the hate-filled hardcore scene, Black Tongue is your band. Conversely, if you’ve always been a mosh warrior of the first degree, but wanted to delve more into devastating deathcore, Falsifier is for you. It combines the crushing, down-tempo sludge of hardcore with the gyrating grooves and luscious vocals of deathcore to create an almost idyllic playground of aural hate which might break the listener’s back–but bathe them in bliss in the process.
For Fans Of: Immoralist, The Overseer, Widow, Shot Down Stay Down, Wombwrecker