Review: Lung Knots ‘Golden Dirges, Molten Larynges’

It’s almost a cliche at this point to describe a record as sounding like the end of the world, so much so that we could just use ‘End Of World Music’ as a genre tag by itself. Nevertheless, it continues to be an accurate enough description of certain types of heavy music that evoke a very specific sound when mentioned: you know the kind of thing, industrial noise, huge drums, apocalyptic choral samples, massive low-end frequencies.

Lung Knots ‘Golden Dirges, Molten Larynges’

Lung Knots sit firmly in the ‘End Of World Music’ bracket. Their end of the world might, theoretically, involve allusions to fire and brimstone, spiritual flagellation and mass chemical warfare, like if Shoko Asahara and his murderous pals had somehow released Sarin throughout the entire planet instead of just the Tokyo Subway system. You’ll excuse a deeply crass, possibly offensive metaphor on my part here; I suspect Lung Knots might be pleased with that description however.

As Golden Dirges, Molten Larynges seeps into your ear canals, it checks all the de rigueur ende tymes audio boxes and establishes a tangible ugliness quickly and easily. That is unfortunately all it has to offer a lot of the time, which is fine but doesn’t make for a huge return listen. Violence in art loses its power to shock over time, and while the vertiginous frequency manipulation and battered metal at the heart of tracks like Cessation or Devour Their Bodies Saturated With Brine is impressively bleak, it’s missing an air of genuine menace, perhaps because of the single mindedness at work, at least part of the time.

Working in the field of dirge can be difficult because it requires the seemingly oxymoronic trick of being repetitive while somehow being not only engaging, but also enthralling. There are very few artists who’ve successfully been able to pull that off. It’s perhaps best to get it out of the way early on that Lung Knots are not in that extremely limited elite currently.

an impressive ability to shift mood and intensity…

That’s not to say Golden Dirges, Molten Larynges is in any way a poor or a completely uninteresting release, though by its nature it will be of an acquired taste (hint: if you have acquired a taste for the likes of In Slaughter Natives, The Body, Gnaw Their Tongues and pre-1986 Swans, you might want to check you have spending money in your PayPal account right about now). With some judicious editing, the removal of a couple of the more dead weight tunes, you’d have an impressive EP here. The songs that hit hardest really hit hard, it’s just that two or three of the eight tracks seem like they’re deploying the same weaponry with less precise aim.

Certainly, there are a couple of notable peaks – Our Torches Soaked In Oil condenses the various elements I mentioned in the opening paragraph into a focussed piece of musical trepanation and is impressively nightmarish with its low sweeping piano note and emetic vocals, alongside some genuinely jarring percussion. It shifts through a couple of different phases, from its initial bombast to a harsh but strangely melancholic closing section. And Harrow Prayer is satisfyingly evocative of a darkening sky, pregnant with acid rain clouds at the rapture. There’s an impressive ability to shift mood and intensity on these tracks indicating there’s a lot of promise at work, which may yet transcend the framework into a less predictable, and more individual voice.

If I wanted to be an obnoxious prick – and let’s face it, I already am – I’d say this is the musical equivalent of those ‘Disturbing Content’ real horror YouTube channels that talks about weird internet videos, true crime and the like; it flirts with its own nihilistic leanings but isn’t quite able to fully admit to or embrace them. The result is fascinating, but feels weirdly removed from the actual subject matter. It’s still pretty entertaining though.

Label: Tartarus Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Jamie Grimes