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Imynvokad > Tongues of Death > Reviews
Imynvokad - Tongues of Death

What a weird little tape - 71%

Noktorn, March 13th, 2010

This is a very curious little release; I haven't heard anything quite like it before and it seems like the sort of thing that would heavily polarize most black metal fans. Oddly enough, the best comparison I can make her is to IC Rex's demented Middle Eastern black metal jangle, more in spirit than in sound; it has a similarly lush melodic quality and off-kilter worldview, but above and beyond that I fail to think of any band that greatly resembles Imynvokad. Points for originality, I suppose.

This is most certainly black metal of some fashion, though, as you would expect, not connected very much to any existing scene except perhaps the French (with the LLN being a quiet but constant influence through the bulk of this release). Sole member Beleseth is a sophisticated instrumentalist; the technical display on this release is far above that of even most of your typical death metal artists, unflashy but conducive to the very strange melodies that composes the meat of Imynvokad. Much of the abstractness of this release comes from the riffing, which swirls and dances in a wholly un-black metal way, with huge amounts of string skipping, unconventional arpeggiated chords, and a not-quite-dissonant melodic sense providing a very uneasy and strange listening experience. It's hard to get a hold on what Beleseth is doing at any given moment because the riffs flitter in and out of songs so briefly; even if there was more repetition it would be hard to dig out due to how alien the melodies are. The riffs on 'Tongues Of Death' aren't really dissonant in the Deathspell Omega sense, but their melodic style is just so off-putting you'd think it was all chromatic chainsaw.

Perhaps the most conventional part of 'Tongues Of Death' would be the vocals, which are a relatively typical black metal snarl (though heavily reverbed and pushed somewhat into the back of the production) which comments on the very strange, narrative song structures but never intrudes fully. The drumwork is similar to the riffs: technical in an odd way, with small cymbal trills and unconventional rhythms contrasting with more straightforward blast'n'skank passages to create something which alternates between pleasant familiarity and distinctly unpleasant, asymmetrical form. The way the drums play off the guitars is quite intriguing; it almost seems as though the guitars are leading the music and the drums are just barely hanging on, with an almost improvisational flair making the very strange riffs seem that much more bizarre. Describing the mood of this music is extremely difficult; it's at once occult and depressive but also undefinable, like some strange whisperings coming out of a genie's lamp.

My biggest criticism about this tape would have to be the production, which, while not at all awful, doesn't quite give the music the sort of fidelity and clarity I think it deserves. Most egregious would be the guitar tone, which has a sort of metallic slackness ala Bone Awl that doesn't really work for me when combined with such intricate melodies which demand careful listening. The guitars, bass, and vocals are all somewhat cloudy and submerged into each other, making the drums sound rather stark as they sit below the bulk of the music but quite forward, rather flat and dry, contrasting with the super misty and cavernous melodic voices above it. It in no way cripples the release, but it might be the biggest thing holding Imynvokad back from being really essential, at least in my opinion.

Now, as for judging the quality of this... well, I'm not quite sure. It's certainly very unique and strange, and I appreciate the clearly vast amount of composition that has gone into this (some of the dual guitar work is staggeringly deep and only really reveals itself after multiple listens), it is an extremely hard listen, with no overt catchiness or hooks or even passages of conventional riffing to anchor the listener. Listening to 'Tongues Of Death' is like diving into the ocean and hoping you remember how to swim; nothing on this release really prepares the listener for the more extreme and bizarre elements. That being said, I do recommend that black metal fans give this a listen and make up their own minds about it; while it's certainly not a 'fun' tape, it makes you think and presents a lot of intriguing ideas in its slim running time.

A Haunting Listen - 89%

orionmetalhead, April 15th, 2009

Crack open the door to Imynvokad's haunted realm and you will quickly find yourself surrounded by a dense wall of ghostly hues and malevolent apparitions. The sordid spirits lick your skin with wispy remnants of flesh that once lived. Tongues of Death sounds like spirits and wind, like running from inescapable foes that never die and never cease to occupy your thoughts. It is a proper blackened release comprised of four churning tracks of perfectly constructed metal of the ritualistic blackened kind sure to invest its creeping, lurking and seeping melodies deep into the recesses of one's cortex. Make no mistake about it, there is a primal essence running through the magnetic filament and it is ready to engrave on the willing listener a need to listen to the ghostly chants and paranormal activity supplied. If you don't believe in ghosts, this is a release that will make you think twice.

The crisp, ringing metallic guitar tone undulates through the cassette's current, leaving trails of hidden cadence, memories of the summoned spirits being absorbed into your consciousness. The guitars are sharp, cutting their way through the hordes of phantasms, revealing both subtle and outright melodies. Listen carefully and you can hear the bare amount of distortion and the massive reverb that coats each string as it is plucked with careful consideration and yet a hand that has performed these hymns many times before; both a thoughtlessness and reflection with every freed note. And while the guitars carefully mold the blustery textures carried through, sole instrumentalist and vocalist (Another of these one man black metal "bands") Beleseth is fond of mourning in the hidden recesses of each song, a distant rawness within which single words are audible occasionally. Beleseth's drumming is standard fare yet appropriate. Switching between faster, gusty and thrustful barrages of reverb-laden percussion and slower, mid-tempo rhythms, the natural tonality of the kit contains a morose, and morbid personality.

Each song has a distinctive flavor, its own lost Poeish tale. Opening track, "By Blood Does the Beast Arise," leads off the hellish journey with a nightmarish quality. It is easy to imagine the fear of being lost and hunted by malicious creatures or spirits with a hunger for human blood. The song drifts between an uneasy solace and a dreadful, tortured prey's tense last moments. There is a string of lyrics audible to the ear near the end of the track. To my ear: "I have power, iron will..." or "This power, I have willed..." Second track, "Union With the Blood of the Moon," is more delicate in its melody, more subdued and subtle. A whispering beast, dripping with sadness and evil. The main component is a dance-like segment repeated two times throughout the song with a brilliant weaving of textures both disgusting and beautiful. "Forge of Black Flames" and "Beyond the Veil of the Abyss" are both unique in their own right but share much of the same style and ideas of the first two tracks. "Forge" has an atmospheric, interlude halfway through the song that really stands apart. Still menacing, it reveals Beleseth's musicianship and attention to dynamic within the track. "Beyond the Veil of the Abyss" is a strong track as well, with a killer riff culminating in a fiery haze of haunted trance. My cassette has what sounds like a heartbeat after the track ends that continues on for another ten minutes. Meant to be there or some cassette trickery, it is an interesting effect that fits in with the atmosphere present.