Saturday, September 24, 2016

Barghest / Teeth - split cassette

This split between Baton Rogue's Barghest  and the California death metal band Teeth is dense from start to finish. While the two band occupy different genres that have both captured animalistic sonic oppression is very convincing manners. First up is Barghest. These guys are  still a feral as ever, but there is more focus within the songs that make this a much more palatable listen than some of their earlier efforts that I really wanted to like, but sounded like someone taking power tools to a trash can full of rabid kittens. This time they going into their punishing take on black metal with a little more ambiance. On "Born of Tooth and Talon" , there is still the sense that these guys grew up listening to Discharge rather than Iron Maiden . The rumble of the manic barrage  seem to have more direction and shows their maturation as a band.

They confront the problem that faces many "raw black metal" bands trying to keep it real, are really trying to keep it in 1991. The only time I want to hear that is when I go back to listen to "Soulside Journey" There is a more of metal storm brewing over "Coil Strike". These guys are not a Darkthrone or Mayhem cover band in wolves clothing. They do capture a similar drone that recalls that classic era in the second wave of black metal, but this is done in a very organic fashion. What I hear is who they are rather than who they want to be. 'They do not relent with the tempestuous fury and speed that is their calling card. 'Sterile Initiates" reins them in with more of a hammering gallop rather than a flood of tremolo picked guitar and blast beats.  Midway into the song a guitar melody rises from the angry blur to catch my ear. The Nameless Tongue" is one of their strongest offerings here. It has a grisly heart beat that pulses with bile, but carries a dark underbelly of melody when their attack slows into a more deliberate undulation.

The second side of this cassette split is Teeth's very interesting take on death metal. I went into this more familiar with Barghest and it's not secret to regular readers that I prefer black metal to death metal and I was over songs tipping the eleven minute mark back in 2014, so this band really achieved something by winning me over. Their side of this split is one twenty three minute song. It takes you into the sewers of hell and chokes you with demon feces. The vocals are a low growl that are more muffled against the mic than gurgled. These guys are not doom, but in contrast to Barghest they provide a much more dynamic contrast and are not afraid to break things down into droney clean tone guitars. This provides introspection rather than the normally monochrome aggression that most death metal bands come at you with.  Thick with atmosphere, but never lost in minimalist shoe gazing the more serene sections that leave you floating out into the horizon, make the battering blasts more of a brutal contrast.

Those blasts come at nine and a half minutes into the song. They are torn between finding that sweet spot of sonic heaviness and lashing out in a more traditional death metal manner. Even though the song does ebb and flow, I think the overall result they achieve, will not find fans of death metal wishing that these guys were any heavier than what they bludgeon you with here. There are some trickier technical punches and the band shows the ability to lock into some very powerful grooves. Fans of more mainstream metal will be able to find more common ground here and fans of bands like Ulcerate will be right at home. This one ships on October 6th and is only limited to 150 copies so get your pre-order in now.

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