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Born In The Way…
Of Eternal Grief: Oxtongue-
“Where The Light Is Mute”

Oxtongue might not be familiar to a lot of my fellow doom-heads, but from here on out they should be. Combining subtle atmospherics with the oft-imitated dirge rumble of Holy Mountain-era Sleep and a crushing, misanthropic fuzz wall is what these Canadian cats are all about. And it works damn well, with “Where The Light Is Mute” winding its way across 31 minutes of acid-dipped grooves and a hollowed, depressing stomp.

The album comes on slowly, with the first five minutes of opener “Humanity: Born In The Way Of Eternal Grief” devoted to a simmering riff backed with subtle whispers and ambient melodic touches. “Humanity…” lurches from one lynchpin groove to the next, the whole mass held together with reverb-drenched shrieks and moans that give a mournful flare to the crushing heaviness. While the riffs at times become a murky edifice of reiteration, they never lose the sense of dynamism that runs like a black vein through this whole album. The tone and timbre of the guitars changes so slowly in spots that, before you’re fully aware, you’ve gone from listening to a chugging bit of repetition to being engulfed in a bongload of atmosphere. And, just as easily, Oxtongue shift into the forceful and infinitely heavy “Anguish: Abide With Suffering,” which sets the same dragging tone as the opening track but follows a much more direct approach. It would have been easy for Oxtongue to take the path that far too many “doom metal” bands have and churn out 15 minute tracks full of bone-dry, Neurosis-aping schlock. Instead, they’ve created something that is at turns groovy, startlingly heavy, and dynamic. Oxtongue manage to strike a near-perfect balance of creativity and nihilism that stretches out into the black edges of emotion that serves as the mark of a truly talented band.


“Where The Light Is Mute” is an anomaly: a debut album that deftly incorporates the obvious influences and flourishes of bands that have come before while signing each riff with an irrefutable essence of innovation. The recording is solid and bottom-heavy while maintaining a clarity and space that’s lacking in many debut recordings. If you sleep on this album, you’re missing out on one of the most delightfully heavy experiences I’ve had in years.

-Brandon Elkins



  1. Oxtongue

    November 15, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Really cool to have our stuff reviewed here. Hope to have some new material/start playing shows early in the new year. Thank you Brandon.

  2. Foeglitarian

    May 20, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    This just made me poop my pants a little, fuckin hell this is amazing.

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