If one major issue had to be pinpointed with the larger genre of hardcore music, it would have to be redundancy through imitation. More specifically, it’s an obsessive hang up that many hardcore bands seem to have with trying to emulate Madball, both sound-wise and lyrically. Normally, if only a handful of bands were doing this, it would be fine. Not every album has to be a ground breaking, art-filled masterpiece. Stupid thrash riffs thrown on a loop until the china cymbal, gang vocal filled breakdowns hit are not an issue, and can even make for a highly enjoyable experience. However, there is a certain point where the constant repetition and cliches become overbearing and cause an album to be more of a chore to listen to than anything else. With this in mind, enter Twitching Tongue‘s newest album, Disharmony, an album that tries to break free of clichés while still maintaining a clear love for its influences, but is ultimately bogged down by failure to tie it all together in a coherent package.
To give credit where credit is due, Twitching Tongues does, as stated above, make an active effort to break away from clichés, as is evident right away from the opening/title track, “Disharmony.” The incorporation of a piano-driven, almost ambient lead in helps to break the band away a bit from being labelled as another NYHC worship band, but this privilege is quickly lost, as not even halfway through the song a Madball-esque, Entombed ripoff riff-filled breakdown takes place. The premature use of a breakdown before the song has actually given itself time to grow into a more fully fleshed out song, perhaps building on the ambiance, leads the listener to ultimately have little faith that any sort of experimentation, at least to an actually noteworthy degree, will return or ever actually be used in an attention grabbing way. And this skepticism over how firmly the band is actually committed to not overusing these tropes proves to be justified as on the intro track alone, not only one, but four breakdowns very near identical are employed within seconds of each other. It’s hard to recapture attention after such a tried-and-true stint like that, but the outro to the track seems promising as it employs a bit of wall noise, up until the point that the noise segment cuts abruptly and the listener is forced into song two (which essentially begins with a breakdown).
After the first track, the album does little in the way of deviation, with ultimately every song sounding almost perfectly identical (lots of breakdowns with lots of riffs that sound like they were lifted from an At the Gates record) and quickly losing steam as it progresses. No longer able to hide under the guise of experimentation, it also fails at being purely extreme enough to truly capture and maintain attention. The few tracks that do manage to break Twitching Tongue’s well polished formula, the almost ballad like “Love Conquers None” as well as the drum driven “Sacrifice Me,” ultimately fail to pan out in any interesting direction beyond being the only tracks to not host HM2 heavy breakdowns.
The other issue with these tracks is that both give the vocals and lyrics room to a shine. While Twitching Tongues have made the clean vocal approach a major aspect of their sound, and it is often seen as a selling point for the band, it does very little to actually add to their sound, and, ultimately, detracts from it. The overly dramatic, Axl Rose/M. Shadows imitation type vocals do not mesh well at all with the generic hardcore and death metal riffs, creating a constant sense that something is off with the performance on the entire album. This is not to say that clean vocals do not have a place in extreme music, but rather, they should be used where they would actually vibe well with the music. Had Twitching Tongues just sucked it up and employed some Carcass-style growls, several tracks, while still heavily rooted in cliches, might be at least a bit more bearable in the long run.
While Twitching Tongues may have made an active effort to separate themselves from the run of the mill, cliché-heavy hardcore-metal crossover bands that are all too common in the modern music industry, they simply fail to use any of their more interesting elements in an attention grabbing way. The little bits of noise spread through out the album fail to add any sort of ambiance or discomfort to the tracks they are employed in, often doing very little to move and sounding more as if someone forgot to cut their pedal vs. consciously make a noise section. The ballads are often bland, doing very little to help the song progress, and overall add very little to the album and act as very skippable tracks despite it meaning a return to the generic song writing of the last tracks. While it may not have been Twitching Tongue’s goal to re-invent the wheel with Disharmony, it ultimately falls short of doing much of anything, not drawing in the listener and doing very little to reward their patience through out its 40+ minute run time. The band shows promise, but they need to figure out how to capitalize on their better qualities and realize that there is a world of difference between showing your influences and simply copying them.
Twitching Tongues’s Disharmony gets…