Deathcore. At the utterance of the word, you, the reader, immediately know whether or not to continue. Despite many standout acts, the genre is notorious for being a dead end in terms of songwriting and musical innovation, where bands are content with putting out non-technical and uninspired strings of breakdowns in lieu of actually trying. Believe it or not though, some acts take up this mantle intentionally, with an end goal of being as heavy and blissfully ignorant as possible. UK’s Black Tongue is one such band, and they play the archetype adeptly — nearly to a fault.
Black Tongue is the essence of no-bullshit deathcore, monolithic in nature and boiled down to the thickness of tar. Their latest effort, the Total Deathcore-backed Born Hanged, is largely uncomplicated by advanced riffing or forward thought, preoccupied by the desire to be as crushing and foreboding at the EP’s format allows. Born Hanged begins and ends with an emphasis in massive drop-tuned chugging, with little in the way of deviation.
As one could imagine, there isn’t an original note played in Born Hanged‘s near-half hour duration, and the songwriting formula is nearly indistinguishable from that of worldwide crowd favorites Thy Art Is Murder, palm muted chugs and ambient leads abound. Naturally, shades of Meshuggah are present at times, but sludge-paced open-note grooves thick with bass drops and mechanical production are the main course during Born Hanged.
It’s shameless, really, and seemingly in spite of their brazen unoriginality, Black Tongue are never really all that boring or offensive. Born Hanged isn’t even so bad that it’s good, outside of the grammatically questionable album title and select lyrics. The band embodies the spirit of what makes deathcore fun in the first place with stupidly heavy breakdowns and incomprehensible vocals rife with “BLEGH!”s. With production fit to emphasize, Born Hanged manages to be a fairly enjoyable ride through the wringer, even if it isn’t intellectually stimulating.
To that end, the band have seemingly accomplished everything they have set out to do. There’s a time and place for low-brained reptilian groove, and for better or for worse, this is the go-to record of the moment. Born Hanged isn’t necessarily the heaviest or most ignorant deathcore record you’ll hear all year, but it gets the balance right with none of the guilt associated with listening to bands like Emmure or Attila. Black Tongue may be fast becoming a caricature of the genre, but for now, this is a one trick pony worth the ride if you’re already sold on the niche. Otherwise, steer well clear.
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Black Tongue – Born Hanged gets…