Dragged into Sunlight & Gnaw Their Tongues
Prosthetic Records/Rocket Distribution
Reviewed By Michael O'Brien
There was never a chance this wasn’t going to be ugly and vicious as hell, was there?
Over the course of two full-length albums, the UK’s Dragged into Sunlight has deservedly earned a reputation for crafting filthy and challenging music while Gnaw Their Tongues’ mastermind, Mories, has been punishing eardrums not only with Gnaw Their Tongues but also with his numerous other projects with a freakish regularity for years now.
Yes, this is a collaboration that’s right up my alley.
There was a tantalising question on my mind before I delved into N.V., however, which centred around what the collaboration would actually sound like or, more specifically, which, if any, of the two artists’ sounds would feature most prominently. The possibilities were numerous when you consider the relatively amorphous nature of both of these bands (especially Dragged into Sunlight when you consider that their two full-length albums have featured two very different musical approaches). Even with all of the possibilities I’d considered, what I failed to anticipate was that the two acts would come together and somehow manage to, for want a better word, harmoniously blend their sounds into something entirely new.
It’s actually really impressive how well Dragged into Sunlight and Gnaw Their Tongues’ sounds mesh together on this collaboration. Of course both acts are caustic in their own unique ways, but prior to this venture I wouldn’t have thought the two bands to be all that sonically compatible. I also would’ve been very wrong, it seems, because what we have here is a collaboration in the truest sense of the word, where each act brings something of its own to the table.
Dragged into Sunlight and Gnaw Their Tongues pack a lot of ugliness into N.V.’s five song and relatively short 32-minute running time, with the former returning to a blackened death/doom sound not dissimilar to the kind they employed on their debut album, Hatred for Mankind, while the latter punctuates the already dense and claustrophobic atmosphere with a dark and searing mixture of industrial and noise that brings the nightmare-like vision to life in all of its sickening and discomforting splendour.
Interestingly, one of the elements that holds this otherwise unhinged collaboration together is Dragged into Sunlight’s inclusion of liberal amounts of serial killer audio samples, which is something that I’ve felt they’ve overdone a little on their previous recordings. In this case, however, they lend N.V. a kind of narrative cohesion that helps bring some much needed order to the chaos around them and, in a strange way, also serve to calm the tension wrought from the near unrelenting layers of noise and distortion that make up the core of the album as a whole.
It’s not all that often that I find my lofty expectations are exceeded these days but, man, has N.V. ever managed to do that. This is a vicious and unrelenting album that not only brings together two of the best bands in their respective fields, but also manages to harvest what makes them so good on an individual level and harness it into something that is both new and exciting.
I can almost guarantee that N.V. will not be an album for everybody, but if you’re already a fan of Dragged into Sunlight or Gnaw Their Tongues, or you have a penchant for challenging and ugly music then this, my friend, is the album that will scratch your itch.