Review Summary: A visceral beginning leads to a promising future.
I went to one of 3TEETH’s shows a couple of weeks ago, taking two things away from the overall experience: the obvious being that it was one of the best shows I’d ever been to, watching five men power grapple this dingy EBM nightclub with their no holds barred industrial savagery; the second, slightly subtler afterthought, was hearing a set which intermingled this self-titled debut and their excellent sophomore album and realising just how far they’d come in such a short space of time. Without trying to sound too hyperbolic, Shutdown.exe
is one of the most punishingly heavy milestones to grace the industrial genre for well over a decade; the nod of respect to its creators and outward thinking to other influences has created an album with near legendary characteristics. Yeah, it has a few minor issues, but it’s an album that bombards you with an unrelenting rage and energy that’s simply unprecedented, and there’s next to no bands in the genre who can match it at the minute. Of course Shutdown.exe
is an entirely different beast to that of its EBM, industrial brother; it’s a sound that rivals its electronic influences with as many metal ones, and in turn makes for a completely different ballgame.
Stylings aside, hearing those songs back to back made it abundantly clear I was listening to two levels of songwriting; if Shutdown.exe
held the crown for being a classy, original and inventively aggressive Goliath, 3TEETH
would end up being the club-wielding, primitive bastard son of David. That’s not to say this is a bad record, just in comparison it leaves much to be desired. For those unfamiliar with the band, Xavier Swafford is the Malcolm Young of 3TEETH, the integral glue that holds this band’s sound together. Not only for being the guy who’s mixed and mastered their records, his electronic wizardry manages to be both unique in sound and essential to their overall style (surprisingly even more aggressive and heavy when heard live). Though his place on their sophomore effort is a hair less prominent, he takes to the front of the stage on this album. Guitars tend to play a more generic roll of metallic chugging and sitting on the backburner while Xavier paints a sanitized baron, dystopian landscape. The band continue to utilise the stripped back bulldozer approach to their instruments over flash virtuosity, but the execution isn’t quite as impressive here. The drums on Shutdown.exe
are exceptional, not for technical proficiency, but for their use of space and feeling, making tracks sound like titans – pendulum swaying grooves that decimate everything in their wake, backed up by the remaining members throwing an atom bomb or two into what’s left of the warzone they’ve created with their simple and effective attributes. 3TEETH
has the same premise but lacks the execution and resolve. Drums are stripped back but come across soulless and robotic, this is mainly down to the type of industrial its opted for which sits closer to an early day Skinny Puppy or Frontline Assembly record. There’s still plenty of swagger left in the tank of these tracks though, “Pearls to Swine” has a machine gun aggrotech pulse that won’t be denied a jive or two, while the more industrial-metal leaned offerings of “Dissolve” and “X-Day” have a staggered Rob/White Zombie chug to them, made complete with distorted samples.
This is a soul-searching debut, it has an idea of what it wants but hits a couple of snags on the way down. Its simplicity is nice but drags the album down a notch when tracks stretch on for too long with their repetitious ideas. It doesn’t help matters when a wet behind the ears Alexis shows us half the vocal diversity he has on Shutdown.exe
. Though his jarring Rob Zombie impersonations were a damaging fit for that record, he has clearly evolved to exponential levels in other departments since this debut – his other clean style of singing and rib cage shattering screams being the obvious points. But even lyrics are brought to a bare minimum here as well, repeating the same string of words with little to no variation on his melody (if applicable). The record evolves to a more optimistic and melodic place at times though, the respite-laden end section of “Unveiled” with its epic swells and female backing vocals add a surprising dimension to what we’ve heard thus far; while the grandiose execution to album closer “Too Far Gone” is a brilliantly uplifting end-note, with its woeful cello and heavy build-up. It’s a cathartic and organic variation to the mechanised journey we’ve just been on and ends the record on a somewhat less cynical note. Overall, this is an enjoyable industrial album, but its one that plays a lot closer to the rulebook. And when you compare 3TEETH
to what the band creates next, it’s clear they lack a couple of tools in their skill set to reach that
level of vision here. Check this, then buckle up for what they have in store for you on Shutdown.exe
. Then wait patiently next to me for 3TEETH’s inevitable world domination and third album.
PACKAGING: STANDARD JEWEL CASE.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A
ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://3teeth.bandcamp.com/album/3teeth