Gnaw Their Tongues has always been masterclass uneasy listening in a purely misanthropic sense and joy. The newest album by the Dutch one-man-project is called The Cessation of Suffering and when listening to the ten tracks hoping to find solace one might end up wondering if it is possible to sue someone because of the most inappropriate, delusional and nightmare-inducing title ever. No cessation given, just brilliant music.
Music? Many people would question my sanity when I proclaim that this is music. And maybe they’re right in doing so. There is nothing remotely really musical about this record, at least not in the regular version of it, in the vein of structure, accessibility and melody. However, that is exactly what this project has always been about – denying all these paths and ideas and one can see that by taking a look at the cover from a slightly sideways perspective: What might be some afghans for covering the tables and desks of your great-grandmother can also be a person’s face and the lower part might be nothing but two middle-fingers given us the old “F*** you” to any kind of expectation. “No, you will not find anything soothing on this record, this is menace, madness and manic expression!”
But why then even sit down and listen to this record if it doesn’t try to please my ear channels and my wish for something nice? Well, because sometimes the world is just simply an effed-up place and then it needs an artist like Maurice de Jong to show us what is wrong with it, to put the finger smack-dab into the wound, rub in some salt, smile at us and leave us with the idea, that it can only get better from here on out. Wait, is the end of this record then the “cessation of suffering”? Are the ten tracks the last necessary step towards a positive ascend? Could these 37 minutes indirectly be the exact thing the title promises? If you want it to be so, yes. Much is open to your idea and intellect what you make of the record, which again is released by Consouling Sounds.
Let’s have a look at the songs themselves: The record might be the best one Maurice has ever released under this moniker which is surely saying a lot as Discogs is listing 60 releases by Gnaw Their Tongues and a total of more than 150 he was involved with! This record embodies everything he has ever striven for – to find the right balance between Black Metal screaming, Industrial beats, horrific horror sounds in the vein of the harshest Noise possible, and even some of the finest (dark) Ambient audible in 2023. If you need a song to fact-check this last sentence take ”Vengeful Spit” which has all of that to the max. Other tracks might highlight some single aspects a bit more, like ”The Departure of Light” which also incorporates a near Drum’n’Bass line and some perfectly embedded vocal samples underneath all the chaos. Or the final track ”Messen” which is an Industrial-meets-Wall of Noise bastard in the best-possible negative sense.
This record has everything Maurice has ever done with Gnaw Their Tongues and maybe this implies the end after nearly 20 years of GTT, however, even if The Cessation of Suffering was an immense three years in the making, I hope that there is more up Maurice’s Gnaw Their Tongues-longsleeve-sleeves! Nobody does misanthropy as literal as he does. Nevertheless, I still do not know whether this might be the best or the worst album title ever?!