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ALBUM REVIEW: Black Tongue – The Unconquerable Dark

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WORDS: James Weaver

Hull’s BLACK TONGUE have been building a solid reputation in the underground scene for a number of years now. Since signing with Century Media last year, fans have been eagerly awaiting the band’s first studio record. Now, The Unconquerable Dark is finally here, but does it carry the same punch for the Hull City Hate Crew or does it fall at the first hurdle?

One thing is certain about The Unconquerable Dark, it is a beast that ebbs and flows from start to finish. The down-tuned pummelling that fans have become accustomed to is portrayed in a more elegant fashion and whilst this may be surprising to some, it adds an extra level of depth to the record. Young Gloom opens slowly before unleashing into a barrage of riffs that vary in pace throughout its duration. BLACK TONGUE have always flirted into doom metal and The Unconquerable Dark continues this trend in fine fashion. Riffs are slow yet immensely powerful and this is an incredible achievement with the fact there is no bass. The combined efforts of Eddie Pickard and James Harrison add a huge weight to the punch of The Unconquerable Dark and their guitar tones are key to the impact of the record.

One thing that makes The Unconquerable Dark so striking is the variety that lies within. For the first time, BLACK TONGUE incorporate a whole range of elements across metal’s varying sub-genres and yet still carry their own unique blend of metal drive rage. For example L’appel du Vide screams black metal influence with Aaron Kitcher’s blast beats adding a surprise addition of speed before unleashing into a barrage of torrential riffs whilst Prince of Ash resembles that of a consistent death metal track. It’s incredibly satisfying and it speaks volumes for how far BLACK TONGUE have come in their short career.

The real star of the show however has to go to vocalist Alex Teyen who’s vocal abilities are nothing but impressive. From start to finish, he delivers a vocal performance that resembles the band’s attitude; anger, aggression and sheer rage. A combination of snarls and growls on A Pale Procession II: Death March raises the hair on the back of the neck and with his lows being a highlight throughout the record’s duration, one cannot but admire Teyen’s lung capacity. The guest appearances of Eddie Hermida (SUICIDE SILENCE) and CJ McMahon (THY ART IS MURDER) only improve what is already a phenomenal vocal performance.

From the opening of Plague Worship to the chaotic closer I’m So Tired of Sighing, Please Lord Let It Be Night, The Unconquerable Tongue is a remarkable record. Unlike BLACK TONGUE‘s previous E.Ps, The Unconquerable Dark carries a professional swagger to the down-tuned carnage. Whilst Born Hanged and Falsifier sacrificed studio mastering for sheer raw power, The Unconquerable Dark is a finely tuned assault of the ears. Yet the record still unleashes sheer devastation across nine tracks of pure filth, still executing all the characteristics that make BLACK TONGUE so revered in the underground world.

Rating: 9/10

The Unconquerable Dark is set for release on September 4th via Century Media Records

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