posted on 5/2010 By:
What part does nostalgia play in our enjoyment of music? My dad has been raiding the shit-stained Rhapsodic vaults for Glenn Miller, not because he likes the bland cat, but because it reminds him of better days. Likewise, I gained my seafaring heavier-music-listenin'-legs delving deep into the metalcore forests of the Northwest. Botch, Harkonen, and the like fused together a common interest in math rock, punk rock, and sludge, churning out a sound that was familiar, yet minty fresh before every douche with a Mogwai record and a delay pedal raped pregnant pauses with tinkling bullshit. So, naturally, I find Teeph enjoyable, mostly because it reminds me of drunkenly writing term papers on class breaks, of summer jobs I could quit without any detriment to my “career,” and of awkward, yet harrowing first dates that always seemed to walk the tightrope between me being murdered or blown in a backseat; "better days" I...guess.
Teeph is deliberately pitched between the pre- and the post-, pretty much setting Hydra Head's first ten years on the copy machine and infusing it with the heavy-as-Poison Idea's-refrigerator core that the cities near CA's capital have been shitting out since Will Haven. For fans of metalcore before it was played by Affliction-bedecked brodudes who only wanted to craft singalongs for MMA ring entries, this record is almost like the equivalent of paging through your yearbook; it's a nice stroll down memory lane, a snapshot of a time before everyone got fat and miserable. So, yeah, Teeph's marriage of sludge to core is nothing groundbreaking--we're talking third-gen duders that look like urban lumberjacks and have a penchant for groan-inducing song titles that weren't witty even back when Curl Up and Die was considered the trend's Keats--but at least these gents bring the heft. Parts of Teeph sound like Paul Bunyan with an aquatic-themed half-sleeve chopping down an Ent with a V8-powered buzzsaw. It's a hell of din, making even a crap pair of iPod buds sound like they're producing the cavernous fart of an elephant with dysentery.
But, peeling back the thick tone, there ain't a whole lot here; a few good riffs, some chunky and some not, and that's kind of it. (“Jailbait Blues” throws in a nice break with a subtle countryish bend, “A Shitapple Driving a Shitmobile” plays out like Deadbird with the boring bits sucked out, etc.). Teeph are competent, but sitting through a disc of this tends to dredge up some age old metal quandaries:
Why don't I spend my time with something better?
Why listen to a clone when you can crack open the jewel cases of the progenitors instead?
Or, combining the two: I rarely have time to even feed myself properly, why should I dedicate minutes of my life I can never get back to this when I can still pop Cialis-free wood to We Are the Romans?
To be fair, Teeph shows promise and will probably bloom on their next couple, but here they never really try to give you much of an answer to the above-posed questions. They're content to sit on the baseline and trade forehands with genre elders instead of going to the net for a winner. (And we're talking every genre elder you can think of. “Out of Nowhere," actually the best thing here, plays around with one of those reverb-y Kurt Ballou riffs for a two minute album intro, and “So Sic, Bro!” is pure Botch.) That's cool and all, and they hit all of the right notes at the right times, but this jaded so-n'-so struggles to give this effort a pass even though there's nothing inherently wrong with it. I would heartily recommend checking them out live, provided that you don't mind sleeping with a fan for the rest of your life, but snatching up this piece of plastic is gonna give you a shot of nostalgia and little more. Again, not bad, and I'm predisposed to like this stuff given my age/experiences, but there's, like, a Knut LP sitting in your local used bin that could be more of a bud. To continue the trend of eternally contradicting myself, though, I'll probably be rifling through my toupee bag for this when I hit my midlife crisis, so what the hell do I know, right?
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