posted on 7/2011 By:
I’d never heard of this Texas trio until about a month ago, so I jumped at the chance to review an album by a band that was completely foreign to me. However, after listening through Baring Teeth’s first full-length, I realized there was very little about their sound that I found unfamiliar. The band is predominantly advertised as “progressive death metal”, which is definitely misleading. Their style is highly technical, frenetic, and strongly reminiscent of bands like Converge, Gorguts, and Dillinger Escape Plan. Although one could argue their maturity does not yet match that of the aforementioned groups, this is still an admirable and intelligently written effort.
A couple of things about this album stand out right away. First is the organic production, which lends itself to the authenticity of their “tech-death” sound. I’ve recently hit my limit with all things overly processed and triggered, so Atrophy serves as a welcome reprieve. Unfortunately, the vocals were placed far too low in the mix, resulting in an almost completely drowned-out sound. Thankfully, Baring Teeth’s instrumental ability succeeds in establishing a powerful enough attack without depending on vocal performances for emotional depth.
Another striking feature is Baring Teeth’s musicianship. The three members play together with a wonderful balance of precision and feel, so there is always a level of clarity amidst the layers of chaos. Jason Roe’s drumming stands out throughout the record, and his transitions from blazingly fast and persistent fills to slow, stripped-down grooves on “Distilled In Fire” are notably impressive.
“Vestigial Birth” begins with free, jazz-infused drumming and a simple, sinister bass line. It’s one of the more dynamic tracks on the album, with feverish sections of build-up interspersed with gloom and hissing dissonance. "Scarred Fingertips” is another doom-laden tune, with Scott Addison’s bass serving as a constant source of rhythmic momentum While the parts are all carried out with skill, the atmosphere never quite resonates with complete honesty. If Baring Teeth were to step away from their seemingly cerebral songwriting approach, the resulting album would be far more compelling.
Overall, Atrophy is a well-executed album with exceptional instrumental performances. However, moments of sincerity are hard to come by, and the final product is overshadowed by bands who pull off this style of music with a bit more spirit. Still, Baring Teeth’s effort is apparent, and I would recommend this album to anyone looking for a death metal band with a double dose of experimental hardcore.
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