Twitching Tongues are one of the most divergent bands in hardcore. The California group merge '90s-influenced metal grooves with doomy hardcore rhythms, but mostly utilize clean vocals as opposed to yelling and screaming — think of them as an apprised Life of Agony, Carnivore and Section 8 for the young moshers. Their first two releases, Sleep Therapy and In Love There Is No Law, laid a foundation for the band to become one of the scene's most talked-about names, positive or not; 2015's Disharmony mostly received negative feedback. If Twitching Tongues ever needed a hit, it's on their latest effort, Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred. Thankfully, they mostly succeed.
While the band have always seasoned their sound with gothic accents in the vein of Type O Negative, vocalist Colin Young embraces his Peter Steele-esque crooning further on "Long Gone," the ballad of the bunch. The concept reads like a huge gamble, but ultimately pays off. Similarly, the Tongues revisit the bluesy guitar licks that put them on the map with Sleep Therapy during "T.F.R." and the half-title track, "Gaining Purpose." New guitarist Sean Martin (previously of Hatebreed, Death Threat and 100 Demons) lives up to his stacked resume and pulls his weight through crushing hardcore riffage.
Those yearning for the troupe's hard edges should look no further than "The Sound of Pain," the incontestable acme of the track list. Taylor Young's vocal performance on the track is an untouchable and ferocious flame, recalling the sound he provides in his side project, Disgrace. It is a dire one-two punch that Twitching Tongues will be remembered for in years forthcoming.
Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred is undeniably praise-worthy, but not without flaws. Colin Young's flashy serenade will still be found polarizing by some, but weathered Twitching Tongues fans will not mind. "Forgive & Remember" is a frustrating five-plus-minute experience observing that the group did not fully internalize the feedback they received from their prior music. It sounds like Disharmony's cutting room floor. "Defection (Union of the State)" is a summative statement, jumping between the entire record's ideas in a seven minute proclamation. While Twitching Tongues still flaunt their growing pains, the fearless fury that resonates throughout Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred is quite commendable. (Metal Blade)