Band – Tongue
Album – Formløse Stjerner
Country of Origin – Denmark
Genre – Black/Death/Doom
Release Date – July 28th, 2023
Label – I, Voidhanger Records
Author – Rz
Well, well, well, here we are again. It’s been awhile since my last review and oh boy am I excited for this one. After reading the “FFO” section on the promo email I was immediately interested and let me tell you what, I was not disappointed by this monster. So without further ado, let’s dive into Formløse Stjerner by Tongues!
I’m a little late to the game on this one as it came out nearly a month ago, but what the hell. We start the album a BANGER! “Elder Fire” starts off with some ominous synth before BUSTING in with some BANANAS Gorguts style whirling riffs. Side note; the synth keeps going in the background and it really reminds me of the sound of a liftgate on a truck. Then we get a nice break before diving into a driving old school black metal section complete with punctual vocals and some super tight riffing.
Speaking of tight riffing, let’s talk guitars! The riffs on this album are crazy. The opening riff (honestly the verse riff is pretty crazy too) from “Awake in the Macrocosm” blends Bolzer-esque angular riffing with the atmosphere of Abyssal and the complexity of Gorguts (gonna be a lot of comparisons to Gorguts here, sorry). The tone here is really great too. Very warm, which is kind of weird for black metal tone. It almost has more of a traditional doom tone, not so heavy on the treble which is always very nice. The guitar solos are pretty sick too; very well thought out and melodic. Not too notey and wanky.
Expanding on the guitar tone a little more, let’s talk general production. The album is sonically wonderful. It’s lush and warm and everything comes through really nicely. The bass is audible, which for black metal is always a major plus. Vocals are great, treading the line between old school screams and with the added bonus of having some solid gutturals thrown in here and there. The guitars and vocals are TOO soaked in reverb but when they are, it’s the perfect amount. Speaking of the perfect amount:
Let’s talk about the closing track. The title track is certainly a journey through the formless realms. We touch a bunch of massive riffs, great atmospheric sections straight out of The Ruins of Beverast playbook. The vocals flirt with a lot of different styles as well, going from the aforementioned growls and screams to Bethlehem style shrieks and wails. The verse riff is super dissonant and super doomy while retaining a lot of melodic elements and is really a highlight on the track, and during the songs fifteen minute run time. It pops in and out as a reminder where you are in the cosmic riff soup.
So, parting thoughts; I went between a few different viewpoints on this album before I landed where I did. Initially, aside from the atmosphere, it just was kinda okay. Nothing really eye popping but not a bad album. After listening to it several (and I mean SEVERAL) times it clicked with me. The riffs are all out of the world and draw from a lot of places. It has death metal elements that come from the weird nethers of death metal, while still holding a black metal sound. It’s interesting, it’s not fun, there is no core. This will definitely be in my top albums of the year, without question. If you just want a fun quick album to listen to, go listen to uhhhhh the new Cannibal Corpse album when it comes out. But if you wanna sit with an album for a few listens and really get to know it, then this one’s for you!
Biography: Rz is the musician behind the melancholic and miserable black/death project Varanak. Aside from that, he enjoys searching the internet for the bleakest music, or binging Waylon Jennings albums.