CP on Facebook


CP on Twitter
Print Email

Listening Party

Baring Teeth: Atrophy

Photo: , License: N/A

Baring Teeth



Metal just gets weirder and weirder as it expands, and that can only be a good thing. Take Dallas’ Baring Teeth, a trio that in a previous era might have taken one idea—say, its Gorguts-y love of dissonance as demonstrated through whiplashing technical death-metal chords—and beaten it to death for a decade’s worth of albums and tours. But on its debut album Atrophy, dissonance is just one idea/approach among an unruly flock of them.

The title opener skitters through plenty of jarring changes and rhythmic switchbacks as the requisite Cookie Monster vocalist does his bit, but in the gaps between the crashing chords and bellows of subsequent track “End,” in something like a bridge, lurks a creepy-crawly progression that’s almost hooky. The absurdly technical dissonance of “Distilled in Fire” gives way to the brooding postpunk-flavored menace of “Vestigal Birth,” which sounds more like a Jesus Lizard outtake than anything from the Relapse stable. “Scarred Fingertips” carries the album even further away from death-metal orthodoxy with its slow-burn tempo and guitarist Andrew Hawkins’ torch-song chords before breaking cover for one of the moments on the album that most closely approximates standard growl-and-blastbeat DM, then ditching that after a few bars for a minute or so of tribal pounding and howling sustain. The 12-minute-plus closer “Tower of Silence” works an epic angle without ever giving in to some sort of pyrotechnic payoff or doom wallow, building and maintaining an agonizing tension that it slowly lets bleed away.

There are moments on Atrophy when Captain Beefheart or even U.S. Maple make as much sense as reference points as the Dillinger Escape Plan might, but the album never seems to stray into “false metal” self-consciousness. Somehow, this combination of finger-busting gnarl and brooding mood feels natural, like Baring Teeth was born to do it. And maybe it was.

  • Mobtown Moon Many of Baltimore’s most accomplished musicians collaborated on an adventurous, challenging, thrilling reinvention of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. | 4/17/2013
  • Zs Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007 Zs Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007 Northern Spy Improvisation has been the cornerstone of contemporary underground music for a decade now, maybe two, the exploratory/winging-it impulse that launched a kabillion CD-Rs and warehouse-space sets | 11/21/2012
  • Letitia VanSant A clever woman with a lot to say. | 7/11/2012
  • Wordsmith: King Noah ONCE UPON A TIME, rappers like Baltimore MC Wordsmith—labeled indie, conscious, or backpacker—dotted the mainstream hip-hop landscape like conscientious objectors, avoiding the violence, and self-hate | 6/20/2012
  • Gary B and the Notions How Do We Explode | 6/13/2012
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus