Snake Tongue – Raptor's Breath album review

Chaotic hardcore debut from Swedish firebrands

Snake Tongue, album cover

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With mixing duties being handled by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, it seems appropriate to point out the similarities Snake Tongue have to Ballou’s band, harnessing wild, disparate parts into an exhilarating whole.

Though not as innovative as those trailblazers, the Swedes cram plenty of ideas and youthful exuberance into their debut’s 27 minutes, and though they may borrow liberally from across the Atlantic, there are enough hallmarks of their own country’s punk and extreme metal to retain authenticity.

The opening title-track and gnarly Post Mortem Spasms are raucous assaults of polyrhythmic bursts and hostile vocals. However, there are moods and textures that act as anchors among the storm. The more conventional rhythms of Altar underpin wild, sludgy riffing, the ominous harmonies of Lashes prolong until they’re unleashed in a racket of angular chords, while Death Dance peaks in fury before descending into an avalanche of doomy riffs. There’s even room for memorable hooks among the jabs of The Horror and closer The Narcissist’s morbid grandeur.

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.