Gazelle Twin – Unflesh – Last Gang Records
By Taylor Falk
Visceral is not a common term used to describe music. It is most oftentimes used to describe guts, insides, or the unpleasant soft innards of the human body. But listening to artists like Gazelle Twin can impart that visceral, fleshy feeling. Repetitive beats, chanting, droning synths, shrill gasps and shrieks. Some listeners may find these sounds and affront to their ears and sensibilities. However, looking deeper into the music reveals the true brilliance of adopting a visceral style like Unflesh.
The album starts off with a titular track, “Unflesh.” The listener’s introduction to the album begins with a slow building of beats, shrieking vocals, and chanting. At first listen, the shrieking can be distasteful and obnoxious. But as it goes on, the shrieking never quite approaches a painful level, it only adds to the cacophony of the track. The highlight of the track is when the usual singing descends. The ear jumps to that noise, a sense of familiarity. Due to the violence of the rest of the track, the vocals sound incredible by comparison.
“Guts” follows up with a more progressive beat, but I believe Gazelle Twin is still letting the listener adjust to the unique style of music they have found themselves listening to. “Exorcise” is another building ordeal. Layer after layer of instruments fall upon one another, percussions, synthesizers, vocals that all coalesce into a climax of synths. A well-rounded song.
The next block of songs are some of my favorite on the album. “Good death” is a prelude to the powerhouse that is song six. It is an ambient track that builds to a slow beating, preparing the listener for the next track. “Antibody” is the embodiment of the album. Chanting on top of rigorous pulsing makes this track a perfect single, and a quick search will greet you with a fitting, and very visceral, music video. “Child” follows with a ghostly come down after “Antibody,” an interlude to the rest of the album.
“Premonition” is another pulsing track, ethereal instrumentation with lines like “I will find you.” These lyrics foreshadow lines later on in the album. “AI Receptor” is another interlude that creates a break for my favorite song on the album, “Belly of the Beast.” Strong, aggressive, powerful, another embodiment of the visceral nature of the album. Listening to it is like walking through a morgue or a graveyard. Not so much is it fascinated with death, it’s just that darkness seems to loom around every corner, on every note. Gripping lines like “I’ll take it like milk from a baby,” refresh this feeling of revenge and resentment found earlier in “Premonition.”
The tail end of the album becomes a dull rehash of the earlier songs. After “Bell of the Beast,” it’s hard to revive the energy and intensity of the album. Songs like “Human Touch” and “Still Life” are forgettable, and likely serve as an epilogue to both “Belly,” and the album itself. “I Feel Blood” is interesting for its Björk-like tendencies, drawing interesting comparisons between Gazelle Twin and Björk’s own alternative style of electronic music.
Overall, the blood-curdling sounds from Unflesh create a dynamic and probing environment for any listener. Visceral is my chosen word to describe the ordeal, but any number of intense adjectives will do. With a few stellar songs, and an album structure that really impresses, Unflesh should be a listen for any music-lover who wants to dive headfirst into darkness.