Battle Hag - Tongue Of The Earth review

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Band: Battle Hag
Album: Tongue Of The Earth
Release date: May 2017

01. Necronomichron
02. The Book Of Thoth
03. Prophetic
04. Basilisk
05. The Tower Of Silence

The monastic intonations and ethereal, Middle Eastern guitar leads that introduce Battle Hag's debut are so auspicious that I wondered if they weren't preparing to overstep their advertised sludge/stoner boundaries. That proves not to be the case for the most part, as Tongue Of The Earth is avowedly stoner doom, but there are a few more touches of personality from time to time - and in any case there's something to be said for just doing one thing really well.

The shortest of the album's five tracks is 9:11 and the lyrics to each take up maybe ten lines, which means that there is a lot of time on this album spent riffing through eternity. Battle Hag play it low and slow, dredging familiar streams of stoner doom for their hazy machinations. There's not much to be said about Tongue Of The Earth that couldn't be gleaned within two minutes of any song, but what there is will follow.

When "The Book Of Thoth" briefly sheds its Eastern riffs and pounding, Sabbathian toms, it slows into nothing other than a funeral doom crawl; even the distinctive stoner metal crunch fades out of the guitars for a short detour through the malevolent blackness of impending funeralia. "The Tower Of Silence" joins this club in a lengthy, moribund march. "Basilisk" spends its first two minutes on intertwining guitar leads, a tasteful diversion from the fuzzy brocades, eventually dropping in the other instruments to carry on the momentum.

I'm a big fan of the drumming, which is relaxed, but also very crisp; the snap of the snare drum balances the hazy lethargy of the guitars and bass, particularly on "Basilisk." I'll admit to some disappointment that Tongue Of The Earth followed a more conventional direction than the beginning indicated; I heard that initial mystique and I thought, "Oh, this will be an interesting experiment," rather than the sensible, "Ah, they're doing the thing that all stoner bands do." That might be on me, because Middle Eastern flourishes and that whole intro sound are standard practice for a lot of bands in this genre; as I said in the beginning, Battle Hag plays stoner doom very well (and sometimes other doom to boot), but at the same time, there isn't a whole lot on Tongue Of The Earth that I haven't heard elsewhere.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7


Written on 12.07.2017 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 78 users
13.07.2017 - 05:20
I can always use some nice Eastern tinged doom a la Om or Zaum. Artwork is pretty nice as well
This is the water, and this is the well
Drink full and descend
The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within

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