Author: Alejandro "Morgoth" Valenzuela
(I, Voidhanger, 2017)
#FOR FANS OF: Black/Death, Necrophobic
'Hreilia' is the debut album of the Danish black/death/doom metal band Tongues. It opens with the subtle sound of the water reaching a shore, a shore filled with corpses depicting the splendid cover art, and then a guitar plays an enigmatic — almost cosmic — melody, slow drums in the background, a mysterious voice talks of forgotten ages, while the pace and melody evolves creating anxiety along with chants, suddenly it stops, a new guitar tune appears bringing with its speed, percussions become stronger, unexpected a horrific scream of a tormented soul burst into chaos. Blasting and magnanimous metal is presented to us in a rich, complex and strong combination of ideas, riffs and violence. Tongues plays its music with passion and strength, the compositions are compound and full of surprising changes, besides an atmosphere of evil and darkness is present all the time.
From the very beginning the album sounds like a classic, I can’t believe this full-length is released in 2017, it is out of this age, to me it is in the vein of legendary bands such as The Legion, Lord Belial or Necrophobic. The production and mastering sound like an album from the golden age of Swedish black/death metal. The second song, “Theophagous Wounds Of Earth”, starts with this bombastic bass line that inevitably reminded me of the forgotten mythical band Blot Mine and their first record 'Porphyrogenesis', sharing this kind of cosmic elements in the music with Tongues debut album and the solid presence of the bass guitar. This Danish band has not only accomplished mix the genres superbly but also has accomplished recreate the sound of the golden age of metal.
As aggressive as it can get, as violent or fast, 'Hreilia' is a pessimistic album, I wouldn’t call it melancholic or depressive because it is not, due to the nature of its music, it never gets lost in the melancholy of a passage or riff to lose its death metal core, it never slows down to sadness so much to lose its black metal touch and give way to a depressive structure. Meditation is suggested but barely present, contrary of a doom metal anthem. And this last line leads me to the music combination, and I have to say that black and death metal are the dominant forces of this band, doom metal is never in the lead, but always present, either in the guitar tuning or the slower moments, but never in the main path.
Tongues debut is impressive and crushing. One aspect I have to mention, is the outstanding vocal performance, it sounds so natural and faithful to the music that it seems to be another music element. The guitar work is glorious, and besides the three main genres this band claims to play, you can find trash metal and more classical metal influences in the form of guitar solos or catchy riffs.
The lyrics are dark and enigmatic; they talk of epic and cosmic tales. My favorite song of the album is “Grove Of Mithridate” which starts with an evil riff, almost psychedelic, it feels cursed and devastating at the same time, it has a tragic feeling that the music communicates perfectly, it’s aggressive and brutal, yet decaying and miserable. But the best song of the record is the longest as well: “Acumen Numinous” every good thing Tongues does in the previous songs is present here, but this song has a different structure and notorious progression, the guitar solo is superb and the drum performance is formidable. Close the half of the song we get this change of rhythm and a confusing guitar line resembling chaos — the end is near — and a colossal ambience is presented to us with solid guitars and chants in the background, is cosmic and delusional.
'Hreilia' is a mastodon of a debut, probably will become a classic in the future, and I can only wait to see what this band is going to release in the years to come. A must listen to fans of black metal, death metal and metalheads in general.