HOLY TONGUES: Melotov Records readies ex-Ruiner trio’s debut, The A.V. Club premieres song

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, July 12, 2014

It has been almost two years since the last time I came across Holy Tongues. The Baltimore group formed after Ruiner broke up and I was able to see them perform live a few times throughout 2012. I remember their sound being a mix of post punk and noise rock with a hint of Ruiner’s hardcore style. Now Holy Tongues is preparing to release their debut full length Weak People, and their label Melotov Records has released the track “92” which can be streamed below. It showcases what I remember of the band’s more aggressive side, and I like it quite a bit. August 5th isn’t too far off, so I am looking forward to having the chance to explore the rest of this album and see just how far the group has come since those live sets.

With new releases out now by ACxDC and Tiger Flowers, and the new LP by Vices coming up next, the prolific Melotov Records continues its 2014 roll with Weak People, the debut full-length by Holy Tongues, set for an August 5th release.

Listen to “92,” off Holy Tongues’ Weak People, exclusively at The A.V. Club.

Holy Tongues is comprised of three members of the late Ruiner, the Baltimore band that made a name in the ’00s via two LPs on Bridge 9 Records, the latter produced by J. Robbins (Modern Life Is War, Coliseum), and via tours with the likes of Strike Anywhere and Pulling Teeth. See here for knockout footage of Ruiner’s farewell show in 2010.

On Weak People, the trio – guitarist/vocalist Dustin Thornton, bassist/vocalist Stephen Smeal, and drummer Joey Edwards – has evolved out of the hardcore zone of its previous band and into a realm of sledgehammer rhythms, churning low-end, and radiant textures. As the instrumentation veers between Jesus Lizard stomp and Quicksand drive,Thornton and Smeal share vocals – jaded but still painfully earnest, they reflect on the past and assess the present through lyrics like: “I used to be a bright light / I used to shine the way / But I’m fading every day / I’m just crooked teeth and bad tattoos / That’s all I’ll ever be to you / And I feel so awkward in my skin / We all live in the shadows / Of the statues of our former selves.”

At times melancholy, at times downright epic, there is a relentless forward motion underlying all of Weak People, implying loudly that nothing is permanent, that this a mere snapshot of one point in time. This is the sound of people, of a band, in transformation.

Weak People was produced by Kevin Bernsten (Full of Hell, Magrudergrind) and mastered by James Plotkin (Isis, Earth).


The tracklist is as follows:
1) Pale Light
2) Filters
3) 92
4) Bright Light
5) Small Fires
6) Smoker
7) Follow
8) 1/10/82 – 8/8/12


On releasing Holy Tongues’ debut album, Melanie Voltz of Melotov Records states, “I couldn’t pass it up. It’s three out of five members of Ruiner, one of my favorite hardcore bands of the 2000s… Weak People is a showcase of dynamic melodies, reminiscent of current post-hardcore acts such as Self Defense Family…”

Holy Tongues has rocked shows this spring with Nothing and Rosetta; stand by for news of the next live actions as Melotov’s August 5th release of Weak People approaches.

“The members of Baltimore trio Holy Tongues are no strangers to turmoil. All three previously served time in Ruiner, one of the most vicious hardcore acts of the ’00s. But Weak People, Holy Tongues’ upcoming debut album, simmers more than it slams. On the song ’92,’ debuted here, the group contains and internalizes an eruption of rage and regret, compressing it into a knot of blackened punk and then swallowing it whole.”
–The A.V. Club

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