Wreath Of Tongues’ New Album Is Like Having Your Infected Brain Amputated
If Wreath Of Tongues were a book, your local politician would want it burned. The Long Island death-grind quartet play the kind of grimy, guttural music that enflames sick minds and scares away fairweather fans. Their previous releases, 2017’s Out With The Good and 2018’s Like Rats EP, established them as one of New York’s most riveting modern acts; now, with their upcoming full-length album Penance, the band look to become one of modern grind’s strongest contenders.
Before listening to our exclusive advance stream of Penance, we caught up with guitarist and vocalist Russ Savarese to hear how Wreath Of Tongues became the terrifying beast that now looms before us.
How do you feel Wreath Of Tongues’s sound has grown or changed between this and the previous EP?
In early 2019, we had a significant personnel change, considering it was the vocalist position. With John [Montiel] joining, his dynamic range really contributed to our ability to hear things differently. It allowed us to become more refined in our songwriting and helped move us in a position to release our first vinyl album as Wreath of Tongues.
The new album seems to take a speedier grindcore approach overall — was that something you went in wanting to do?
Yes, for sure. We actually had these songs tracked and mixed before John came on board, so we knew the direction would eventually become more intense once he laid vocals down. Definitely expect more of this from us in the future.
Do you have a preference — the groovy breakdown moments, or the more panicked death metal material?
I think Chris [Rini, drums] and John prefer the groovy breakdowns more, while Cody [Hosza, bass] and I enjoy anything ‘panicked’ that can be composed in 7/6 with 5 on the 3rd measure or, like, a 13/8 blast part. When I listen to the band as whole, I just appreciate the fact we can combine both styles without sounding forced
Is there something you’re especially excited for fans to hear on Penance — a specific track, or a broad-strokes vibe?
My favorite track is called The Bludgeoning, so I’m particularly excited for people to hear that one. With that let me just say…the vinyl recording PUMPS! I’ve never heard my music on vinyl so I was really shocked to hear how ominous and unforgiving it sounds upon opening. I encourage everyone to grab a copy since everything we’ve done is limited to the DIY ethic.
I’m also excited for the criticism. Give it to us real — tell me my art sucks. Tell me you fuckin’ love it and want to hear more! We’re genuinely happy with the way this came out — from music to packaging. There’s also a guest vocal spot from a great friend in a seriously awesome Long Island hardcore band, so we’re excited to cross-pollenate with the likes of others who enjoy different kinds of heavy music
The cover of last year’s EP is more shadowy and conceptual, but this one is brilliantly graphic — what inspired the shift?
When we asked John to join the band, he was all about it. I told him we wanted to name the album Penance, so the next night on his first rehearsal, he handed each of us seven pages of lyrics and a fuckin’ cover page, all under the theme of Penance (defined as “voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong”). I was both shocked and inspired to see how involved he wanted to get, so I let him take the wheel on art direction. He got Chris Smith of Grey Aria Design Studio to collaborate with our idea of the theme and we went with it. We’re happy that it stands out from our previous material, because it does show a visual evolution of the band. Comparing our song catalog reveals this progression as well.
As a NYC-based band in 2019, what is the city’s music scene like today? Who or what excites you, or disappoints you?
Our NYC (heavy) music scene was saved by the almighty Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. No doubt that it’s our modern day CBGB. I think I speak for everyone that we hope they don’t get run out of town like the others. With the closings the last few years of The Acheron, Trash Bar, Grand Victory, ABC No Rio, Silent Barn, Brooklyn Bazaar 1 & 2, et cetera, we have to respect what’s left and not lose our footprint in NYC. It’s a disappointment that this is a constant struggle for NYC artists. On a more exciting note, some LI/NY local bands on our radar worth checking out are Sanction, Moon Tooth, Cryptodira, Hangman, Johnny Booth, and Poor Choice!
Check out our exclusive advance stream of Wreath Of Tongues’ Penance below:
Wreath Of Tongues’ Penance comes out Friday, December 13, and is available for pre-order.
Make sure to catch the band live at one of the following dates:
14 Release night #1 – Album Release Show with Curl Up And Die (headlining) and Shadow Snakes (ex-Ed Gein) — Saint Vitus Bar
15 Release night #2 – WOT headlining w/ Carcosa, Blame God, Godseyes and Visualize Industrial Collapse — Amityville Music Hall
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