Split your 2017 wide open with Unru and Tongue
Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted an oddly named album tucked away in the honorable mentions of my 2016 Album of the Year list. The record, Unru‘s Als Tier ist der Mensch nichts, was a monstrous chimera of black metal, noise, and hardcore, morphing like a shapeshifting chameleon from style to style with an unmatched fluidity and sincerity. I was totally blown away by the band’s seamless stream-of-consciousness flow from savage trem lines to bludgeoning doom riffs, and while I probably jam some of the albums on that list less now, I still find myself coming back to Unru. Today I’m stoked to let y’all in on a little secret; last week, Unru dropped the streaming tracks for an appetizing little split with the mad Germans in Tongue. Together they make quite the tasty peanut butter cup of terror.
And what a tasty treat this split is. Kicking off with Unru’s nearly nine-minute track “Intimhölle/Regression,” the Unru/Tongue split distills everything I dug about Als Tier ist der Mensch nichts into one unwholesome little package. “Intimhölle/Regression” shows off more of Unru’s unflinching modularity, wrapped around a particularly fiery Sun Worship/Order of Orias-esque riff; the song quickly morphs from black metal to crusty doom and back again with frightening unpredictably, yet the effect never feels forced or jarring. It’s a convincing meat pie of riffs and d-beats and swarming reverb, and its only drawback is that it’s over all too soon.
Thankfully, Tongue pick up what Unru puts down, delivering a shockingly complementary track to match Unru’s blackened meat pie. Tongue are, admittedly, a relatively unknown quantity to me, but this nine minute track is apparently just the taste I needed to go whole hog. More trem. More blasts. More throat-serrating shrieks to project a pitch black concoction of pure anguish. All of this Tongue gives us with the same panache and flair as heard on the Unru half. “Omega Male” is the perfect aperitif after the entree (although this metaphor may fall apart as both these tracks are stuffed to bursting with style and zazz).
Probably the best thing about these nearly twenty minutes of unrelenting metal is the split’s consistency. I’ve noted before the too-common jarring nature of splits. Often a great band is disappointingly matched with something far too incongruous. Thankfully, that effect is nowhere to be seen here, and you’ll be hard tested to find two bands that flow together half so smoothly this year.
The Unru/Tongue drops later this month via Supreme Chaos Records, but you can pick it up on the label’s Bandcamp page right now!