Published Nov 11, 2015Feeling overwhelmed is a strange emotion. It can be perceived as entirely negative, a smothering too-much-ness devoid of nuance or specificity, but it can also be something else — a doorway to something sublime, a kind of envelopment and extremity that leads to transformation.
It's the latter that characterizes the collaboration between extreme noise maestros Gnaw Their Tongues and equally extreme metal horror shows Dragged Into Sunlight. The fruits of their years-long collective labour has manifested as N.V. (which stands for Negative Volume), ostensibly a concept album based on twisting and perverting Godflesh's Streetcleaner beyond all recognition. The production is also a collaboration, this time between Tom Dring (Corrupt Mortal Altar) and Justin Broadrick himself.
With all of these hands in the chest cavity, it's remarkable this chimeric, complex record doesn't descend into complete chaos, but somehow, miraculously, all the layers remain distinct and all the pieces fit together like grotesque clockwork. The metallic riffs clatter off of a noisy, industrial hollowness; rasping, inhuman vocals are drenched and distorted into something both mechanical and bestial; the harrowing black metal drumming becomes a wicked organic foil to the robotic blasts of noise.
The audio samples deployed to great effect on past Dragged Into Sunlight records are especially horrifying here, spatters of offal on the abattoir of the soul. With all these elements, it's somehow still the atmosphere of N.V. that is the most terrifying — the oppressiveness of it, the claustrophobia, blood-choked reeking of fear. It is awful, and overwhelming, and gorgeous. (Prosthetic Records)