Lingua Ignota

All Bitches Die


by Will Cummings

Content Warning: This review contains references to sexual violence and physical violence.

            I have known about the hype around Lingua Ignota for a couple of years now, but it wasn’t until a classmate expressed his admiration of her music that I decided to start from the beginning.

            Woe to All (On the Day of My Wrath) is a hell of a way to start a debut album. Within the first minute of this destructive bombardment of distortion, windchimes rattle violently, almost as though they are being shaken by whatever unholy machine is creating the gruesome racket. I immediately coined the term ‘bomb shelter music’ (patent pending) and the first few minutes of this song genuinely made my skin crawl. Lingua’s distant screams offered no comfort to me as I was pissing my britches. The only reprieve in the hellscape of sound was the introduction of a synth in the foundations of the ongoing torture. Then, all settles and the nightmare music becomes a gentle piano and Lingua painfully begins the fantasy of the album in a most effective way. These lyrics –poems, really – are devastating. Hell, Lingua even says “where’er”, and that’s pretty badass. She manically details a most horrifying power, a mix of devilish wickedness and power-starved monarchs. It is haunting. Then, we are plunged back into the bomb shelter for three more minutes as we are shown how powerless and puny we are in the grips of Lingua’s brilliant, infinitely dimensioned approach to story-telling.

            God Gave Me No Name is less hostile to the senses, with Lingua’s beautifully pained singing of more sharp poetry, detailing the complex relationship with Catholicism that I’m sure continues in her more recent albums. There are touches of choral vocals that are gorgeous and chilling over a backbone of distortion punches.

            The title track returns to the slow, trickling piano as Lingua exclaims, “Sinner, you’d better get ready,” and it sounds like good advice. There is a lake of distortion almost halfway through that seemingly changes the perspective of the song from the torturer to the tortured. Now, she sings, “I fell down on my bended knee, begged mercy for my life. Please, dear, don’t kill me here.” Her pain is so expertly conveyed that it’s simply another kind of experience. It’s beyond words. The singing is so phenomenal. It’s horrifyingly expressive and adds to this impeccable view of a hell that is all too real.

            For I Am the Light introduces us to a face of this album’s thesis: Aileen Wuornos, a woman whose life in sex work led her to kill seven men whom she claimed attempted to assault her. I cannot comment on the many nuances in this case, but she is generally considered to be a serial killer. Lingua samples interviews that Wuornos gave before her death sentence was carried out in 2002, and in this song we hear, “Everyone in this world is evil and all of us are evil in one way or another…” Lingua’s lyrics eventually return to her own power fantasy of being the one who controls the victimizer. She screams, “My hands take hold on justice […] and I repay evil with evil […] all things end with me.” The tattered instrumental then plunges into the hellscape as Lingua begs God for forgiveness, yet urges her vengeance fulfilled to the highest degree. “Console me with blood,” she screams. It’s just… horribly effective.

            Holy is the Name concludes the album, in an ironic, heavenly bow. The dead rapist that lay at her feet is God-gifted. The power has arrived, and tranquility arrives with one of the most powerful vocal performances I have ever heard. This is probably the most pleasant song here, but it feels far less rewarding without having suffered through the rest of the album.

            This is one of the best albums I have ever heard. It haunts me and I am far removed from the torments Lingua has lived, so I cautiously recommend this to anyone. Its sound is abrasive as hell and its contents are twice as challenging. That being said, it’s masterful.