Hreilia: A Guided Tour of Hell by Tongues
Which circle of Hell is right for you?
Welcome to Hell, dear reader.
You are here because you were given a set of Rules to live by and you broke one or all of them. (And, in so breaking, you were unrepentant.) You are here because, in life, you transgressed the Holy Tenets; mocked the Covenant; snuck off in the night to fornicate, dishonor your parents, and commit idolatry at every available chance.
Plot twist: You win! Turns out the Rules were not a test of your faith, but rather a test of your singular desire to live a life worth living. Everyone who followed the Rules gets to go hang out on a cloud or some shit, listening to harp music and abstaining from alcohol, sex, and metal for all eternity. You, on the other hand, get to choose your room in Hell. And Danish extreme metal hierophants Tongues are going to be your personal guides. They are peddlers of a slippery brand of black metal, dissonant and yet melodic, liberally infused with the essences of doom and death. Their product is crystal clear yet too fierce to sound polished; technically aflame yet too tasteful to earn the proggy epithet. They are masters of fusing a wide array of influences into a coherent body that, while never over-indulgent, is always eager to surprise. Tongues’ newly designed tour package, entitled Hreilia, will take you through seven of Hell’s finest circles.
Mind you, this tour will contain torment: some fire, some skewering, some flaying of your tender flesh. But we’re not monsters around here: Amidst the torture you’ll have ample access to pleasures the likes of which would have made de Sade and Georges Batailles beg “No more!” (Side note: They’re both down here in the VIP Corpsefucking Suite.) So, let’s call it 20% torture and 80% PARTY TIME.
The perdition/party begins with the circle called “Perennial Waves”. This one is divided into two sub-circles. The first is a mere antechamber, a sort of waiting room where your various sins and character flaws will be compiled, assessed, and then thrown in the paper-shredder–because we only pretend, in the interest of corporate tax loopholes, to care about that shit down here. While you wait, enjoy a nice fair-trade coffee or Campari on ice; feel free to relax in one of our reclining chairs or mingle with others who will share in your eternal damnation. Bob your head politely to the lazy flow of the lounge-doom: the easygoing arpeggiations, the chilled-out walking bass, and the low, tubercular rasp of the gnostic recitations. Once you’ve finished your drink, you’ll be off to the second sub-circle–an instant plunge into a maelstrom of scratched and bloodied bodies. Dressed in tattered rags, they crawl over one another, scratch one another, trample one another to reach the sumptuous feast of grass-fed fillet mignon at the maelstrom’s center. True, true, this room is for beginners, lacking in refined depravity: All blast, no sass.
Onward now to Hell’s Second Circle, “Theophagous Wounds of Earth.” (Take a moment to contemplate that imagery if you’d like.) Here there appears to be another maelstrom of bodies. But this one moves more slowly, more orderly; in fact, it is less a maelstrom than a civilized dance: a demonic minuet led by the up-and-down climbing of the bass and the gentlemanly and decidedly un-savage blasting of the beats. Note that, although those rasping recitations have reached a newly invigorated pitch, they’ve also taken on a playful, almost sarcastic tone. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a proper dance in Hell without the chains, the hooks, the blood-sprinklers, the half-frontal nudity.
The Third Circle of Hell awaits! “Interlude” is just that–an interlude (whoever’s in charge of branding over at the Tongues Corporation is in need of a demotion, sealed with a severe bum-paddling.) Here, amidst the gloomy ambient whirl, if you so choose you may sit down on the ash-strewn floor and contemplate your infinite and irreversible severance from the Bosom of the Creator. As you can see, so few of the damned choose to linger in this circle for long. Who’s that over there? Why yes, that’s Howard Phillips Lovecraft in the corner, weeping blankly into the pages of his posthumously successful work; and in the opposite corner, Ingmar Bergman, camera to his eye, filming the cracks in the wall.
I think you’re going to like Hell’s Fourth Circle, “…And the Ever Watchful Clouds.” Here, we abandon all recognizable dance in favor of writhing on a floor strewn with sustainably sourced offal, packed so closely together that one can hardly tell where one body ends and another begins (full nudity mandatory). Around us swirl images from our lives: brief moments of great triumph or profound misstep, interspersed with long segments of boredom, lugubriosity, and illness. Let these visions of your life’s final sum–nullity–entrance you, empty you, preparing you to obey the call of your one true regret: your unspent lust. Receive the lurid dictates of its cyclical and soothing loin-song–receive them and be filled!–be filled in preparation to be drained!
Fifth Circle: “Grove of Mithridate.” This one is a favorite amongst tenants and management alike. Why? Well, just listen to that killer fucking guitar lead. An archetypal lead, from which all others spring. An infinitely repeatable lead on infinite repeat. Choose to stay in this circle and you must commit to listening to it forever. Meanwhile, you can do whatever the fuck else you’d like. Drink barrel-aged absinthe from the tap; discuss the folly of earthly politics with your fellow tenants; gaze narcissistically at your reflection in one of twelve unfiltered pools of owls’ blood; read Dostoevsky; stab yourself repeatedly in the heart . . .
Now, let us show you The Six(-six-six)th Circle: “Acumen Numinous.” If this one appears to be a labyrinth, that is because it is in fact a labyrinth. As you frolic from one dead-end to the next, you’ll discover fresh horror or vice or organic refreshments around every corner. Highlights include a young boy and girl licking the eyeballs of a giant tarantula; Pixar-themed pornography; hormone-free, non-GMO milk from the thousand teats of The Black Goat of the Woods . . .
Circle the Seventh: “Hreilia.” I.e., eternal sleep. Tired of living? Fatigued of consciousness? Unimpressed with Creation? Hoping to eschew all this Afterlife business altogether? Well then, dear reader, this Circle is for you! Just lie down on that bed of hepatitis-infested nails over there and close your eyes. We’ll take care of the rest. Soon, you’ll drift off into blank infinity. You’ll forget yourself–and you’ll be likewise forgotten–forever!
The Hreilia tour package will be available December 8th, courtesy of I, Voidhanger Records.