Heart Failure

An Album By

Church Tongue

Review by

Listen now

Indianapolis hardcore band Church Tongue has burst on to the scene with a heart-stopping debut album. Heart Failure sounds downright filthy on first listen, its bombastic, grimy hardcore seeping through the speakers and into your ears like an unsanitary ectoplasm. The aura is more angry and atonal than mindful and melodic, and the impassioned vocals atop Church Tongue’s sonic assault only serve to underscore the group’s subversive aesthetic.

Swinging away against the unavoidable ills of the world, vocalist Michael Sugars starts “Medicine Breath” by vehemently addressing a nameless villain: “You’re a walking, untreated disease / And I’m wondering how you have peace of mind.” The metallic vitriol brings to mind the work of ad hominem assailants All Pigs Must Die, or heated, antipodean diatribes like Hundredth’s recent “Dead Weight” single. However, the production of Heart Failure creates a far more sinister atmosphere than Hundredth’s ornamental affairs, while coming in a few threads short of APMD’s occultist garb.

I don’t know exactly where these guys stand on spiritual matters, but this is probably the perfect hardcore album for any angry renegade; it really doesn’t let up. (The last time I heard an LP this beautifully disheveled was departed Philadelphia punk band Leather’s overlooked album, Easy.) The first and only breath of reprieve occurs seven tracks deep on the rolling, reflective emo jam, “7:20.” The song sounding something like an unwashed Appleseed Cast, the viva voce comedown stands as the solitary stoic amid 35 minutes of unrelenting, hard-driving vexations.

As a band known for setting its guitarist aflame mid-set, Church Tongue’s live shows are apparently just as inflammatory as this album. I can only imagine the sweaty, hardcore sing-alongs that result from explosive Heart Failure cuts like the seething “Dark Days” and the penultimate rumination, “Room in Your Chest.” The album’s selections are often pierced by messy, squealing guitar feedback, further painting the picture of a dark basement show in which the band plays in eardrum-shattering fashion on the floor right in front of you. The major unfortunate caveat is that this is the kind of album that makes more sense in a live setting; you’re only witnessing half of the picture on this admittedly intense collection. Even still, its 11 hard-edged entries will remind you of metalcore, post-hardcore bands like Beartooth, Capsize, Ghost Key or Fit for a King. Heart Failure is a hell of a debut album for Church Tongue, and I can only see these guys getting better and more refined as they forge deeper into their career. Check out Church Tongue when they come to your town, and be sure to pick up Heart Failure when you’re in the mood for an absolute atom bomb of chaotic, indignant hardcore.

Features

Tigerwine 2020

A Disparate Vintage

On Tigerwine's latest, 'Nothing is for You,' vocalist and lyricist Trobee departs from the band's last effort as a concept record to write about an array subjects. Notably, Trobee tackles his evolution from rigid belief system to an acceptance and understanding of other ideas: "Through touring and becoming close with those very people I was taught to be afraid of, I realized how untrue it all is."

By

Full Feature
Comrades 2020

Becoming Comrades

The trio of Comrades – husband and wife Joe and Laura McElroy alongside drummer John Gaskil – is used to living in a van and touring the country. Now, their new normal has provided them with a moment to "be adults" for once. We recently sat down with the McElroys to talk more about the spiritual reality within life, how soon they'll be able to release new music, and how koalas are their new normal.

By

Photo by Quinsey Sablan

Full Feature
Payable on Death – P.O.D.

A Voice of Life

Almost 27 years after the band's first studio album, P.O.D.'s message is arguably more important than ever. "I believe (our message) is even more relevant now than it was then. If you really listen to 'Youth of the Nation,' we still have these tragedies going on. There’s a lot of searching still going on out there."

By

Full Feature
All Features