TWITCHING TO NGUES Metallic hardcore quintet TWITCHING TONGUES are currently riding high with their new full length offering ‘Disharmony’ surfacing via their new label Metal Blade Records. Fresh from a slot on the annual hardcore behemoth the Persistence tour, Down For Life’s Mark Freebase spoke to the L.A. commanders of controversy and found out they are not prepared to tow the line one bit.
APPY to use the descriptive ‘irregular’ regarding Twitching Tongues, vocalist Colin Young chuckles as he confidently quotes “an enormous variety of abnormal things make this band” it seems a positive comes from within what so many would consider negative. It’s a trait the band have relished strongly, and as the nonchalant frontman emphasises, it’s how it has always been for them. “People have to take it the way they want to take it, but we are just gonna keep on doin’ our thing”. Twitching Tongues are a band intent on pleasing themselves first. “We definitely write what we want to hear” and that’s probably understood by the fans anyway.” Twitching Tongues have never been a band to bow down to conformity. These elements make the quintet quite hard to pigeonhole, and to pin down to a certain dynamic. “It’s just the way we end up doing it” maybe intentional, maybe just driven by a twist to be against the grain or even self-indulgent, but Colin calmly discloses “We don’t really anticipate how different the album is going to be, or even how each song will turn out at the end” this all adds to the content which makes Twitching Tongues a total blend of genres. Has the band suffered from this? “I think so…” stifles the vocalist… “I feel sometimes we are too hardcore for the metal audiences, and in the same retrospect to metal for the hardcore fans” this leads to the conclusion they are maybe a little weirder to fathom out for the both. With genres merging and boundaries coming down easier these days a song that is as much Hatebreed as it is Candlemass can be consumed vigorously by the listening audience. “It is really easy now, but it wasn’t always that way”. Six or seven years ago when the band started it was significantly tougher and some would say hard to figure out, but Twitching Tongues have continued to plough forward regardless of what people thought. For a band that has been part of the hardcore clique for so long, putting their neck outside the nominated boundaries is something they do not live in fear of doing. “One of the biggest talking points is how my vocals are not typically hardcore” and this quite rightly gives them a different characteristic. Drawing influences from hardcore contemporaries Cro-Mags, Only Living Witness, Sheer Terror, and mixing them with metal attributes like Candlemass and Type O Negative. In the earlier days - and especially the latter ‘90s - the hardcore crowd had always been way more of an open minded contingency, is this a contributing fact as to how bands are fusing wider elements now? Or is it the metalheads who are showing more open arms? “Well this seems like the first time since the ‘90s that hardcore bands
are jumping to larger labels, and doing bigger things, than they have in the past fifteen years or so” emphasising the fact that hardcore is surely about to branch out over a much greater spectrum. Whether people are prepared for it or not is just another question. “If you don’t put a label on it, will people say its bad ass or awesome?” The less people stigmatise it, the more people take it all as one, it’s a perspective Twitching Tongues want to utilise as a musical standpoint, just remember “this is not mainstream music”. People seem less scared to admit to musical influences these days, and embracing the inspirational sounds is what drives this nonconformist machine. “You tell me that Celtic Frost’s ‘Cold Lake’ is not a bitchin’ record!” is a comment many may shrug their unimpressed shoulders to, but Colin’s cries of “‘Cold Lake’ is sick!” will also ring true for many. This comes from a band who can grace the boards of all things metal at the mighty Hellfest, and sit comfortably amongst the likes of Terror and Wisdom In Chains on the packaged Persistence tour. “This has been a great experience for us, as we have only come by ourselves, or as a co-headlining tour to Europe so far. It was awesome, and we had a lot of fun. They were some of our best shows in Europe to date actually. Twitching Tongues are totally into mixing it up, we are at this point now where we would totally like to tour with bands we like, bands that are peers, bands we have respect for, or some bucket list bands… you know; regardless of genre”. Twitching Tongues’ dark side is always one that is prominent, especially present for new album cover ‘Disharmony’ which delves deeper into the tailing end of a theme which has run through previous releases. “We wanted this to clearly stand out in our discography. So that you know it’s a different thing. Our cover artwork consciously covers lyrical topics, and for the new record I saw this particular image from a witchcraft magazine in the ‘70s that I used as the inspiration for the album cover. This sacrificial element that I wanted to indulge and immerse amongst and the overall concept for the song ‘Disharmony’, and some of the other songs like ‘Sacrifice’ all comes together and is a true representation of where we are at as a band. I am very happy with this, and it’s out there as my favourite.”
ome may consider signing with the larger labels moving away from their roots, or even selling out, but what does a label like Metal Blade Records have to offer? “I think this will give us better distribution for sure, I know for a fact that it is not as difficult to find the album in Europe any more, which
is cool, I am aware that many people will internet buy or order these days anyway, but it still has a wider availability on Metal Blade. It has also opened us up to a larger circle of music fans who might not necessarily of known who we were before… it’s also a possibility for better tours, which is definitely great and a real positive point for us guys. As far as changing the way we operate, I’m pretty confident in saying this statement is minimal. The label always knew we operated a little differently, and we were a little bit weird, and it’s certainly going to stay that way [laughs]. We are certainly not abandoning any of the things we indulged in during early conception. I mean, take the bands we played with for example, we have always played amongst all spectrums of hardcore music, so we are not doing anything with any changes here. Cross-pollination is something that runs deeply within this band, and to be honest we have not worked deep enough within the metal end of the continuum yet. We would like to expand on this, for sure, but it has to be with things we like, as it seems that even on every cool metal tour there is something that sucks. It is frustrating when we get the opportunity to head out with a band we really like only to find out we are first on out of a bunch of five, and the second and third bands are total dogshit!”. An instance that arises for many bands throughout their career; so is it all to do with the politics of the beloved music business? “One thousand percent. It has always been that way. I’m not hatin’ on anybody though. I respect it. Whether you like a band or not if they get to a certain point its usually because they busted their asses to get to that place.” Reigning in their true roots and keeping a tight hold of where they have evolved from becomes apparent during the cover versions recorded for ‘extras’ on the new record. “Ahhh, the two Agnostic Front Songs… well we wanted to do a couple of bad ass, classic, hardcore songs. Give them to people who might not be familiar with them, and they are different from what we actually sound like as a band, another part of the branching out example. The ‘No Thank You’ song was a live outro that Merauder did, but they said different stuff, I made my own no thank you’s though. They said things that were particular to them in a live set during the early 90’s, so we just changed the musical aspect of it, and I filled it with my own shit! You only have to listen to what I’m saying out loud and you will get the message!” [laughs]. Not wanting to reveal too much and hoping to surprise people in the future. Colin seems a little shady, or maybe even vague as to the life expectancy of ‘Disharmony’ although the band does have plans he is happy to disclose. The final expressions of Twitching Tongues can be summed up with the frontman’s chilling quote… “We are extremely comfortable with hardcore but almost to a fault!” ‘disharmony’ is out now on metal blade records
DOWN FOR LIFE