2. Weaving Mirror
3. Slow Slicing
4. Small Prey
9. Shimmering Ills
11. Hissing Veil
12. Yes A Great Silence Is Waiting
13. Flew Up In Birds
14. Rattling The Teeth
Darkness seems to be all the rage in our present cultural climate. Yes, that is supposed to sound as facetious as it does. Presumably we are all a little taken aback at how well mainstream culture and aesthetic has adopted and integrated the looks and sounds that were once completely anathema. It isn’t surprising to see mile long lists of the newest “goth” influenced bands, but when they start to emerge in the most unlikely places it all gets quite confusing. Hipsterism seems to have no boundaries. Cynicism aside, the result of this proliferation is an increased attention to dark music and ultimately an actual chance for quality acts to float to the top. Not all contemporary darkness is dead and lifeless. The spirit of the old is alive and well with vampires hiding in various nooks and crannies around the globe, but one certainly needs ears to hear to distinguish through the pallor-face multitudes cranking out the same dark, synth dance music. It is rare that a band can still evoke those early visceral sounds once restrained to the Batcaves of the world, but every so often the planets and moon align just right and we receive a band like Bestial Mouths. A pleasurably painful voyage to the depths of the bleakest, tortured human psyche.
From the moment I witnessed the enchanting vocalist in Bestial Mouth’s music video for their chaotically minimal song “Gulls” I was intrigued and then subsequently knocked off my feet. The video features the lovely Lynette Cerezo in an apocalyptic head dress and war paint clamouring up jagged, ocean-side rocks, while bellowing out her blood-chilling, frenzied vocals. Tucked into the caves and crevices in this rock formation are the rest of the band, a single synth player and drummer. Somehow these two are responsible for all non-human sounds, and given the variety of Cerezo’s delivery it is genuinely a daunting task to determine what is and is not human. A sunny ocean scene is not the most conducive environment for an experimental deathrock band to wreak their unique brand of havoc, but they successfully managed to convey the eerie tones found on their Dais Records debut, Hissing Veil. If they could manage to instill a sense of discomfort, intrigue, and horror in an otherwise unthreatening looking video then something is worth taking note of. There seems to be some very cut-and-dry rules when it comes to deathrock/goth music, the slightest misstep can offset the mood completely. However, there are really only two moods on this transplant from a darker time: hostility and unease.
From the moment they dash out of the speakers, the inescapable demonic voices that scream, hiss, and spit unhinged violence from all angles tear into the listener like rusty, dull razors. Cerezo is doing her best to reach the heights of the true voice of dread, Diamanda Galas, while adding her own brand of sadistic shrieks and wails. The mind of a madman must have cracked open, and out spilled the lyrics to these raving verses and choruses. The only conclusion possible is that they are begat of automatic writing sessions in a bottomless dungeon untouched by natural light. There is never a moment of beauty or softness in this melee of loosely organized chaos. Abrasive and distant synths fill in any space that isn’t taken up by the cavalcade of drums on the verge of total collapse at any moment. All together these elements coagulate into a vicious expression of the darkest madness, slowly driving the listener to the brink of insanity as well. Bestial Mouths want to pull us down into their black world, as it is of course a comfort to the wretched to have companions in misfortune.
By the end of this combination of warbled fragments, each equally as menacing as the last, the feeling of exhaustion and anxiety is palpable. This should come with a warning label to those with personality disorders, tendencies towards homicidal/suicidal thoughts, and those struggling with mental illness, because at this point we have all joined the ranks of the malevolent whether we want to or not. One of the bleakest faiths has been restored in the current state of this formless genre, as it gets chipped away by the ironic and the insincere bit by bit. Fortunately we have a band like Bestial Mouths to expose us to the imbalanced mess that they allow to flow through themselves. When three obviously tortured souls purge all of the unrefined filth that has collected over the course of their lifetimes onto a record the resulting brutal honesty is enough to push any veteran listener over the edge.