Pulling Teeth
Funerary


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eric USER (161 Reviews)
May 6th, 2011 | 173 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The best of today's hardcore justifies even the worst of cities

There’s no getting around it, Baltimore, MD is an ugly city-- a shithole, even, as it was described to me recently. Still, between the rainbow-painted bridge adjacent to Penn Station, hovering near Soundgarden Records, underneath the pomp and pretension at Johns Hopkins, or within Miss Shirley’s Cafe, there’s a certain charm to Charm City. I think Baltimore-based Pulling Teeth must recognize this. Not unlike the tattered, disgusting benches strewn throughout the city with the misnomer “Best City in America” written upon them, the now-pretty-well-known hardcore band has a certain grime to them, a wonderfully rich history not unlike Baltimore, and they throw in some refined sophistication as well. Darlings from Deathwish, they grew to underground prominence with Vicious Skin and Martyr Immortal. Their 2009 record, Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions sounded like the full-realization of the band’s potential, in many ways. It reconstructed the thrash and extreme-metal influences used in the band’s two first, bringing their sound into fruition. Pulling Teeth’s latest exhibits the band ripping apart these self-set boundaries and birthing yet another record that bends lines between hardcore and metal, exceeding expectations along the way.

The most striking aspect about Funerary is its ability to blend influences fluidly without any awkward chunks floating around. Where past records have displayed the band’s influences in a more pronounced fashion, this takes obvious cues from a repertoire of worthy influences, but hides them beneath layers of Pulling Teeth’s own personality. And a little unique personality never hurts a record. Consider the opener: “From Birth” it begins with a blistering Slayer-esque solo, but the real meat of the song is Riley’s throat-scorching screams taking ahold of the track soon after before it descends into dizzyingly frenetic territory. The song touches on the bleak subject of having mixed feelings about bringing a child into this fucked up world-- spurred by the arrival of a son for the guitarist. Often achingly personal and singeing, there’s no shortage of hatred for Pulling Teeth.

At the heart of Pulling Teeth’s records are the lyrics, unexpectedly, and Funerary is no exception. Frontman Mike Riley is up-front about the significance of his lyrics in their latest, especially (detailed explanations of each song’s lyrics can be found at an interview with Riley, here: http://linebreakerzine.com/2011/05/03/pulling-teeth-funerary/). They add a nice touch to the album, reminding the listener that Pulling Teeth is more than unadulterated ardor, ire, and an eccentric frontman, that they are some of current hardcore’s most sophisticated. It’s not merely a resonant assault on poor ears with relentless aggression, Funerary is that plus cohesiveness, fluidity, and a welcome concentration on songwriting and thematics.

Unfortunately, this concentration on the dark themes of Funerary gets Pulling Teeth into a bit of trouble late in the record. At the advent of the 10-minute title-track, the band hits a wall. Slowing down the pace for the hollow, doom-influenced track, Pulling Teeth lose considerable momentum. Granted, the genre-bending and skilled composition of “Funerary” make it impressive in its own right, but it’s not worth sacrificing the velocity that had been steadily building. Drooling to a sludgy slow, the remaining songs exhibit the band’s wide array of influences and technical capabilities better than any other streak on the album (i.e. the phenomenal solo on “Whispers”), but that doesn’t change the fact that it feels utterly detached from the rest of Funerary.

Besides getting a tad caught up in their own experimentation at a singular point on the album, Funerary is a dynamic tour de force that is sure to swallow expectations whole. Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions was the band discovering their sound, and this is Pulling Teeth breaking free from those self-set barriers. From the pop-punk-esque gang vocals of “Waiting,” to the Riley’s even more exacerbated vocal style, to the inclusion of Pianos Become The Teeth’s vocalist on highlight “At Peace” (that works surprisingly well), there’s more than enough novelty on Funerary for old fans to be astounded with... again. So while Baltimore may not be the “Best City in America” as its benches like to boast, kindred like Pulling Teeth prove once again that Baltimore is worth keeping around, if only for its indispensable hardcore music scene.



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user ratings (86)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
May 6th 2011


20374 Comments


hey guys looks it's that guy that writes bad reviews about good music

released on the 10th, streaming here:
http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2011/05/pulling_teeth_r.html

Digging: Holy Sons - Lost Decade II

sniper
May 6th 2011


19058 Comments


nice yellow gospel avatar sea

SeaAnemone
May 6th 2011


20374 Comments


saw it randomly while I was listening to "And Redemption Fills..." and I'm like holy fuck it's time for a change.

Ire
May 6th 2011


41787 Comments


i want a cool avatar

craigy2
May 6th 2011


551 Comments


great review as always, eric. this sounds like something i'd like. the title track in particular sounds intersting, even if it may disrput the album's flow

first sentence of the second paragraph: 'fKuidly' - small typo.

sniper
May 6th 2011


19058 Comments


anyway, i got this based on a rec from dante, i'll read this after i spin it.

cvlts
May 6th 2011


8960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes album is beyond amazing. i dont really fault the 'flow' of this album too much cause it's basically side A and B on vinyl, which makes sense.

SeaAnemone
May 6th 2011


20374 Comments


ah, makes sense Geno.
it's not like I faulted them for it in the score or anything, I just thought it was worth pointing out.

and the title track is beyond amazing, btw

wabbit
May 6th 2011


7003 Comments


eric you are good at running come bring this too me, I'll buy you like 6 beer

cvlts
May 6th 2011


8960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

iono seemed like the one handicap you point out, but its whatevs.

gang vocals on Waiting are so random lol

SeaAnemone
May 6th 2011


20374 Comments


iono seemed like the one handicap you point out, but its whatevs.


yeah I honestly couldn't come up with others... but I'm just saying: even if this did flow better to me I can't imagine it
being a 4.5 (but have no qualms with your rating)


and Miles I just plugged it into MapMyRun... not sure I'm prepared for the bear and moose of Canada like you are
though

cvlts
May 6th 2011


8960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

word. anyways, good review as always, good to see someone other than regular users bringin more hardcore to light.

gotta a small error on the interview/lyrics paragraph.

(detailed explanations of each song’s lyrics can be found at an interview with Riley, here: ).

?

SeaAnemone
May 6th 2011


20374 Comments


ah thanks Dante! I wrote it when I didn't have internet connection and forgot about that... definitely worth checking out if you haven't yet!

Dummit
May 6th 2011


353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cherub tentacle dongs.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
May 6th 2011


10594 Comments


Great review of a great album.


Oh and happy 150th!

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

djunior
May 6th 2011


781 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Im in love with this at the moment.

I may be reading waaay too into it, but it seems that the doom-ier songs were put last intentionally in reference to the album theme of the album. It starts of fast and frantic (birth/life). Then it gets to the amazing title track (death/'funeral'). Then the last tracks set a mood of possibly grievance/sorrow and dealing with death. The song titles seem to back this. Not only does each song have its own individuality and mood, but when listened to as a whole it has its own.

Not to mention how consistently great each song is.


Digging: Objekt - Flatland

Josh D.
May 6th 2011


13968 Comments


Not unlike the tattered, disgusting benches strewn throughout the city with the misnomer “Best City in America” written upon them


Ha.

I'll check this out.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 6th 2011


23843 Comments


sounds tight, I'll give this a go

EyesWideShut
May 6th 2011


3159 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I thought this was the best hc release so far. Just great muscianship and doesnt OD on the breakdown
(Nachos yall). ..Solid..

Josh D.
May 6th 2011


13968 Comments


Sounds pretty cool.



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