Black Tongue use their fauxhammer to lay waste to Manchester
The choice of venue for tonight’s performance by town-tempo masters Black Tongue couldn’t be any more perfect: a semi-dilapidated room, set about a bar, which is being threatened with demolition and so happens to be situated next to Manchester’s red light district. It’s filthy, and much like the headliner’s music it’ll leave you feeling used and dirty, besides causing you to leave minus some cash.
Doors open slightly later than expected but just in time for openers Monolith to take to the stage – which unfortunately isn’t the all star band of the best and brightest of this remarkable zine; instead they’re a Cornish metal band that play a strange combination of deathcore and groove metal that never seems to become dedicated enough to either to be able to feel any real conviction. Frontman Luke is really quite impressive; despite his movements coming across as somewhat awkward you can see real potential. The songs themselves aren’t really bad, nor are they good. They meander quite purposelessly, the lack of a second guitar leaves these tracks and the performance as a whole quite shallow.
After a quick intermission Oceans Ate Alaska hit the stage, back on UK soil after several months in the US touring with a veritable smorgasbord of the best and brightest of the metalcore scene. It seems this extended touring has worked massively in their favour; they take to the stage like seasoned pros and deliver a set of what is largely unoriginal prog-tinged metalcore, but which is certainly performed with more than enough conviction to carry it off.
With fans screaming lyrics back and dancing along, it’s an impressive sight to behold. Songs like “Blood Brothers” bring a groove that marries pretty succinctly with vocalist James’ efforts. He’s talented, that much is certain, and he knows how to control a crowd. It’s an entertaining set that never quite carries the same level of misery and loathing that can be attributed to the headliners, but it’s a bloody good start.
Another change over and Black Tongue appear. Frontman Alex Teyan sits somewhere between demon and rabid wolf; his snarling expressions are intensified by the iconic noose he raises above his head and as the band launch into “Plague Worship“, the crowd are moving. The tiny capacity venue is a hive of surging electricity; the low, filthy riffs are infectious and harrowing and as they move into “L’appel du Vide” Teyan screams the hook “Oh how I long to be one with the void again”. The ensuing beatdown is ferocious, unrelenting and violent, as is the crowd’s reaction.
“Fauxhammer” is a nod to the band’s roots that is both welcomed by the crowd and important to fully understand the evolution these chaps have gone through. The transition and level of songwriting is both improved and darker, and shown again in ”Vermintide“, which is explosive, with guitarists trailing each other riff for riff. It’s impressive. Their movements behind Alex’s beast-like stature is an interesting contrast but adds something to the stage show unraveling in front of you. Black Tongue are better as a four piece and this performance is all the proof you could ever need that theyhave earned their stripes as one of the best and brightest of the UK scene.
The double hit of “In The Wake Ov The Wolf” and “Coma” is utterly ruining, but short glimpses of drummer Aaron is enough to cast a sense of terror into the audience. His quiet and cool but completely psychopathic gaze is unnerving to say the least. He doesn’t have the the brutality of Alex but he’d definitely slit your throat open with a chunk of sheared-off cymbal.
The band finish up their set with “H.C.H.C.” which includes a guest spot from Monolith vocalist Luke, whose vocals shine on this material. Alex makes one last call for the crowd to lose their shit and by the gods do they. It’s not just Hull City that have the hate crew; Manchester bring it too!
As the band finish and the limbs are collected from various spots around the floor, you can’t help but be in awe of Black Tongue. Not only is their music violently intense but it is remarkably charming in the way it brings the crowd together. The best is yet to come from Black Tongue, get on board the hype train now before they punch you in the face and pull you on it anyway.