She Said Destroy - This City Speaks In Tongues
Tabu Recordings
Technical/Progressive Death Metal
8 songs (40:59)
Release year: 2009
Tabu Recordings
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the month

All the way back in 2006, an unknown Norwegian band released its debut album on Candlelight. Very few people brought the album, and so the band promptly vanished into thin air until now, when they have reappeared with a new album. Yes, it’s the ridiculously-named Norwegian Death Metal horde known to mankind as She Said Destroy, and whilst This City Speaks In Tongues isn’t quite as good as future classic Time Like Vines was, is, and will forever be, it still manages to be better than a good 80% of Death Metal out there. In fact, it’s taken quite a few listens for the full genius of This City... to make itself known even to your humble reviewer/She Said Destroy fan; chances are if you happen to stumble across it whilst on your weekly net-scouring for new and fun Death Metal, you’ll stop after one listen, overcome by the sheer intensity and complexity of it. Assuming, of course, that you didn’t do what most people do and ignore the band because of its stupid shitcore-suggestive name, which would quite possibly be the worst musical mistake since The Unspoken King.

Playing a technical form of Death Metal with the barest hints of Black Metal and Metalcore, This City... lacks the amazing epic atmosphere of its ancestor but does have that excellent Suffocation plus Death plus Carcass times Prog formula, and as a result is a deep and enjoyable album that rewards you the more you listen. It’d take hours to go through each song and explain exactly what makes it so awesome, but rest assured, the moment that the title track clears its throat to get your attention then unleashes a torrent of melodic Blackened riffing, you’ll be in love. That the track continues with a tech breakdown, sharp-edged Death riffing that’d make Terrence Hobbs weep in shame and an impressively grandiose outro is a bonus...

The album continues to surprise and delight from then on, for example: the gentle proggy intro to We Will Never Learn is soon interrupted by Meshuggah-esque riffs and Jazzy interlude pieces, the song evolving into a series of technical sections that make the melodic outro all the more excellent. An Age Of Leeches stomps all over you like a Cannibal Corpse that’s shed the constraints and gotten a better drummer – and She Said Destroy’s drummer, one Ventilator, is truly excellent, as a few listens to any random song here will prove. Imagine a Flo Mournier that was more concerned with backing the guitar hysterics than showing off on his own but can’t resist the odd time-change or fill, and you have it in a nutshell, although it’s the drum sound that is this album’s one main fault, an annoying occasional hollow bong-y sound. It’s not St Anger, by any means, and is pretty easy to ignore with all the other Death Metal delights on display, but you will occasionally find yourself thinking ‘man, I wish these guys had a better drum sound’ so be warned.

As far as guitar-playing goes, both Ugmod and Snorre (no, not that one) are more than skilled. On an average song (in this example, the eccentrically-titled Tea And Toast At The Very End Of Time) the mixture of typical Death Metal chugs, melodic Doomy wailing and more abstract Avant-Spazz-Core-y moments (think Protest The Hero if they were, well, Norwegian) are seamless, and all are more than headbangable. Impressively, the band don’t so much switch between genres as combine them, and so the Progressive influences and melodies are combined with the Death Metal brutality in a way that most bands could never manage. Of course, there are interlude-y mellow sections as mentioned above, but never where you’d expect. Moments like No Zen are little short of jaw-dropping, and yes, whilst the bass is perfectly audible, it’ll take a few listens before you even care.

Perhaps the best aspect of This City Speaks In Tongues overall is the defiant underground attitude. No-one could blame the band if it added a barrowload of Deathcore influence after Time Like Vines failed to register with the Death Metal massive – the only member remotely famous is the bassist, who was once in Proggy countrymen Extol – but instead the band have gone deeper and darker. Heck, even the contractually-obliged tiresome ‘core break-fuckin’-down in I Love This Place is done tastefully, and moments like the Prog interlude in Consider This A Warning aren’t chorus-y at all. As mentioned earlier, Time Like Vines had an amazing epic atmosphere running through the album that This City... barely touches upon, and the songs here seem deliberately less catchy.

If you’re one of the thirty or so people that did know about She Said Destroy before this review, then you’ll be surprised at the change, but it’s clearly the same band and after a few listens you’ll love it equally as much. Everyone else should buy this immediately and listen with patience, for you guys have an even bigger treat waiting for you in the form of She Said Destroy’s first album. Death Metal needs more bands like this, bands unafraid of carving their own paths and forming a unique sound, and whilst the chances are that Ugmod and co.’s stupid band name and artsy artwork will stop them ever from ascending the Death Metal throne, they’ll remain an excellent cult act that survive on word-of-mouth and messageboard recommendation. Are you a fan of Extreme Metal? Then chances are that you’re missing an SSD-shaped hole in your musical life...

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Killing Songs :
This City Speaks In Tongues, We Will Never Learn, An Age Of Leeches, Tea And Toast At The Very End Of Time, No Zen, I Love This Place, Consider This A Warning
Goat quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by She Said Destroy that we have reviewed:
She Said Destroy - Bleeding Fiction (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
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