LA based Industrial Metal outfit 3Teeth have been forging ahead on their mission to explore the realms of control since 2013 and this is the second full length instalment. The line-up is Alexis Mincolla (vocals), Xavier Swafford (keys), Andrew Means (drums) and Chase Brawner (guitars). Previously they have released their debut album (also available as a remix album) and two singles.
Let’s have a look at a selection from the thirteen tracks on this album – not because only half the album is any good but for the fact that there is much to cover. Pit Of Fire – a doom laden hymn to over-indulgence in cyberspace and then the twisting of the individual’s mind, it starts with an ominous broken sample that makes you wonder if your MP3 player is malfunctioning. It soon kicks in with a menacing Metal / Hard Electronic groove which suffuses this tune. The verse is a restrained affair with more than a hint of dark seduction oozing from the cracks and the chorus wraps you in its barbed coils with malicious intent driving its meaning deep inside to become a part of you. Sounds wash around the central core adding necessary details and providing the essential Electro Horror that 3Teeth have embraced. Oblivion Coil begins with the pulses of a machine’s heart and mind before they coerce into a meaningful synthetic backing for the digitally manipulated vocals. The chorus materializes as one of the most instantaneous on the album making its point and becoming the central focus. As the song builds through each phase more layers of instrumentation are added and the breakdown sinister with intent builds into an almost overwhelming finale in this, seemingly all too short, tune. Degrade is another song reliant on the Hard Electronic tradition and again its hooks are strong as steel lodging themselves in your brain to infect your mind with seductive information – you are being plugged into directly into the cyberspace which controls and reflects every other part of your life. A digital landscape where organic elements effect the least influence but are the more noticeable for their presence. Next to look at is Tabula Umbra which is the sole instrumental. The marriage between ancient rituals and the modern world in the contexts of witchcraft and hallucinogenic substances to control someone else. The tabla initiate the ritual of discovery accompanied by digital pulses while commentary from a documentary plays over the top explaining the connection between parapsychology and drugs. The sinister and eerie atmosphere takes over in the form of a building up of caustic layers but still with that tabla firmly in the background. The tension is forced into becoming tangible and the drums and guitars batter away as slowly the dread pitch rises to a breaking point. Maybe a short piece but delivered with consummate skill, it also helps to break up the album a little. SlaveGod is more Metal although the vocals still betray some of the groups non-Metal influences, it has the atmosphere of oppression about it from the time you hear the synthetic clanging announcing its arrival. A seething verse gathers towards it the increasing darkness, lifeless but merely functioning, until it erupts in all-engulfing inhuman screams of the machinery of oppression which pounds the message into your consciousness. This god demands all and gives nothing, you WILL obey whether you choose to or not so that your reality is the demented reality of slavery which this malignant deity demands. The sense of stepping into a piece of work by H. R. Giger is almost tangible – the imagery used in the lyrics encapsulates the distorted philosophy while the music paints bleak colours over everything. The last tune we shall look at is B. O. A. which glides into view like a rust-shrouded nightmare: the metallic sounds and crystal clear samples vie for precedence while the drums and vocals mechanically punch out their own patterns, guitars adding an almost imperfect human touch. The chorus becomes a cyber-gothic symphonic assault – a twisted, slightly out-of-tune organ making its presence felt adding to the edginess, contrasting with the razor-blade guitars and vocals. The synth solo creates an additional, grating layer although by the time it turns up in this song it appears to be a natural consequence of what has preceded it. Thirteen songs and yet this album does not drag: songs aren’t cut short but expand quickly providing the listener with only the most important information within that timespan. The balance between Metal and Hard Electronic is kept overall giving a range of variation while the hooks mount up. The searing production is down to Sean Beavan (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, A Perfect Circle) and Howie Wienberg (Deftones, Nirvana, Pantera, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden).
The fact that there are obvious influences from Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Marilyn Manson, KMFDM etc may seem like a negative so that a fan of any / all these groups shouldn’t really bother with 3Teeth however the quartet have a strength that none of the groups mentioned have (or had). 3Teeth have a cohesion that goes beyond their style and sound and it is simply this: the philosophical point to their existence which is how control is used on the individual and mass populace in all its forms. Others have indeed touched on this but 3Teeth are solely about this. Musically they bring elements together that may be cliché but it is like watching your favourite movie: you know what is going to happen but you want to see it again for the satisfaction that you gain from the experience. Not only that but also that 3Teeth are placed at an exceptional time when it is perfect to hear this style of music: technologically, socially and politically. It will not disappoint and definitely deserves its score.
Even though they pay tribute through their influences, 3Teeth have been creating compelling music which includes harsh production and great hooks. This is their second album and will only see them gain more fans.