The Californian quartet channel life's shortcomings for one uncompromising outing.
Words by Sean Wright (@stainedglassrevelation):
In the first season of the HBO acclaimed series, True Detective (2014), Matthew McConaughey plays Rustin Spencer “Rust” Chole, a talented but troubled Louisiana State homicide detective. His character has a dark history and is explained by Rust with his rather cynical and unpurposeful nihilistic view and perception of life while quoting Neitzche, overall being what one may call a "Debbie Downer". The character is not good at social gatherings and not without legit reasons. One of the more memorable quotes that Rust says is the phrase, “Time is a flat circle.” To fully understand the meaning and context of why Rust quotes this, one would have to listen to the dialogue being given by Rust to two other detectives throughout the first half or so of the first season. It’s not a pretty nor hopeful one, but it's a sad commentary of our own reality as a whole. Human beings are predictable in certain aspects, the individual even more so, especially because those who have experienced failure, trauma, loss, and not learning from those terrible unfortunate events are doomed to repeat said events. The hope is that maybe, possibly, they will experience closure or learn as to why it happened in the first place.
I know that’s a helluva way to start an album review, but given the nature of a band such as Teeth, the themes of the band’s lyrics and Rust’s edgy (not in a bad way, far from it) character tend to parallel one another. Teeth is just as nihilistic and edgy (again, not in a bad way) as Rust Chole smoking Camel cigarettes. Teeth on the other hand gives an auditory soundtrack to said themes, which runs the gamut of self-destruction, misanthropy, etc. In short, they're a talented band exploring the themes of existentialism. While not exactly what one would call new, ground-breaking, or even fresh in the Metal universe, Teeth are pushing the boundaries in a different direction. That direction is their chaotic and violent amalgamation of death metal, doom, sludge and grindcore.
As downright punishing as they can be, they also have moments of lucidity in terms of psychedelic chord progressions. At the very moment, in both of these reviewer's eyes and ears, they are second to none. Teeth burst onto the Los Angeles scene in 2014 and six years later, they're at the helm of the extreme metal scene alongside other note-worthy acts such as Convulsing, Our Place Of Worship Is Silence, Seputus, Ulcerate, and Altarage.
Finite may only be a 5 song full length, but it’s fitting because it knows its limitations. Their previous album, the acclaimed The Curse of Entropy (2019), was a 10 song beatdown but towards a certain point I felt like it went on longer than it should have. Finite delivers the plummeting brutal punch that Teeth can forcefully muster into a single knock-out. Less is more in the case of Finite. The first single/preview of Finite was ushered with the breakdown-heavy Concubine, which alone gives you an idea of the sum total of the full-length. The opening track, Garden of Eyes, starts with an ominous melody that steadily burst into the violent amalgamation of extreme noise terror that Teeth have been on their quest to perfecting. Interesting enough, Garden of Eyes as the opening is the longest track of the short full length. My personal pick from Finite is the song, The Fog Of
Futility, which is very reminiscent of Ulcerate’s 2020 masterpiece, Stare Into Death & Be Still. The closer, Scornful Nexus feels like a leftover from Entropy, but that’s not a negative given the fact that Entropy is what helped elevate Teeth’s status in the underground. If anything, it’s a reminder of what Teeth is able to offer and what we can look more forward to.
The only negative I can take away from Finite is that after a handful of listens, it feels a little too compacted at certain moments. If anything, this should have been an EP in my personal opinion, but again, that’s mine and that doesn’t reflect on the material offered. The material is fresh, focused, and shows the band’s efforts in honing in on their craft. The one thing I do worry about is how the hell Teeth is going to get any more pummeling than they already have? They’ve shown their strong points so far. The audio trauma they have and can put the listener through at this point feels like an infinite loop of blasts, guttural vocals, dissonant riffs, excellent production, etc. Refraining back to the beginning of my review with the whole “Time is a flat circle” quote; it’s not. If one were to apply it to life itself, the extremes that bands such as Teeth go to into order to create extreme music and fans of extreme music like myself who GO and search out extreme music is an interesting law of physics that more or less exists in the underground. I’m not saying everyone has psychiatric issues of the sorts that would be required to listen and enjoy extreme music, but for some, it’s needed. There is an answer to all of this: it’s an outlet, be it for Teeth, for myself, their fans, or any musicians in general. Whenever we need a catharsis of sort, a place to vent, or to bleed out; art, not just music, is there. Some of the greatest creations and artistic expressions of art were the outcome of pain, trauma, and suffering. Teeth have created their outlet and the great thing is that it does prove that life in itself is not all suffering; Life itself is something to be enjoyed while you still have it even through the suffering.
Finite arrives on November 26th via Translation Loss Records. Order your copy HERE.