Teeth of the Hydra
posted on 9/2006 By:
Ohio’s Teeth of the Hydra may have T. Rex to thank for its exceedingly kickass moniker, but it owes much of its sound to similarly well named contemporary High on Fire, although there’s also apparent influence from the likes of Corrosion of Conformity, Lair of the Minotaur, Melvins and Venom. On Greenland, the band shows a penchant for a familiar but itch-scratching brand of marauding, blood streaked and war drunk metal anthems of the gorgon slaying variety. But the rub comes in the form of that same old double edged (broad)sword, in that flouting a sound similar to white-hot and nearly universally respected bands is guaranteed to pique interest, but you’re damn likely going to suffer by comparison. TOTH has a sound that’ll grab your attention; they just need to continue to hammer away at doing some more with it if they hope to truly compete with their chosen peers. Although, lets be honest, failing to reach the high water marks of efforts by the likes of High on Fire is nothing to be ashamed of, and Greenland is a respectable and appealing effort in its own right.
Greenland, the trio’s second effort, consists of eight brutal tales of that land’s long ago Viking inhabitants, and the subject matter and music both convey visions of galloping, sword raised, over frozen tundras. These songs are most effective when they’re built on the back of Jamie Stillman’s war drums, and Matt Miner’s Cronos meets Matt Pike raspy vocals usually help as well. His discernable vocal style also includes a clean stoner rock delivery, although it often seems to crop up in less convincing stretches of material. Teeth of the Hydra shows some early black metal influence, although their description of their sound as “1970’s black metal” remains an eyebrow raiser. Greenland picks up steam as it goes, and hits its highpoint with the rambunctious fist pumper “Eruptin’”, but the toothless (getit?) and overlong instrumental “Narsaq” puts a prompt halt to the album’s forward momentum, and likely takes some of the sting out of closer “Purgatorium”. In the end, Greenland is one of those albums you might love for a spin or two if you just crank it up and go about your business without paying too much attention. There are some formidable riffs and rhythms and no shortage of pure headbanging fodder, but soon enough you’ll begin to notice that the material sometimes fades into blandness as some songs feel bloated (“Purgatorium”, “Nine Heads”, and the eleven minute stoner meditation “The Garden of Rotten Teeth”). Teeth of the Hydra still has some growing to do, but the raw materials are there, and tracks like “Voices over Conus” and “Eruptin’” are the real deal. An album’s worth of that would do the trick quite nicely. Until then, these guys are a few steps off the impressive pace, but still very much worth a look.
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