It has been four years since Texan Death Metallers Baring Teeth released their strongly received sophomore effort Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins (Willowtip), an album that would be considered an important and striking release for its abstract take on Death Metal, akin to the likes of Ulcerate. In this time Death Metal has continued to evolve and create new pathways, with the likes of Pyrrhon turning the genre on its head. In an ever-changing arena for the genre, Baring Teeth have a lot of competition now amongst Death Metal oddities, and with their latest effort Transitive Savagery (Translation Loss), they make a striking statement with the art of balance.
At first, take Transitive Savagery is quite an overpowering and intentionally disorientating release which has various dynamics and directions at its disposal, and for the uninitiated, it will prove to be a challenge. Album opener ‘The Quiescent Mass’ for example instantly blasts at the listener with a discordant, almost Grindcore onslaught, with one minute thirty seconds of pure force without any easing, before ‘Abstracted Mind’ – for the most part a pacey number – drops in jazz-like tangents and odd time signatures throughout. In total contrast even to this is the eight minutes plus ‘Aqueous’ which oozes at a mesmeric, crawling pace at the album’s centre, channeling into an uncomfortable domain, before the title track brings back to controlled chaotic approach as before.
Throughout its runtime, Transitive Savagery shifts and veers to new paths and ever complex time signatures, but its production and tone is purposely raw and harsh, adding a sense of foreboding and grit to its incredibly technical proceedings. Also, whilst it is a difficult one to approach at first, with repeated listens it does offer enough hooks to grab the listener. It is a resolutely esoteric album to pick apart at and approach, but it also knows to balance with strong and memorable songwriting to sink your teeth (pardon the pun) into as well.
Death Metal has been in very rude health in recent years with newcomers and stalwarts alike releasing excellent material from all variants of the genre, and amongst its more obtuse entities, Baring Teeth has once again delivered in all fronts. On a purely challenging front and a technical standpoint this excels, but it has enough wealth behind it to bring you back in as opposed to being unapproachable for the sake of it. It definitely won’t be for everyone, but for those who like their extreme Metal to confound at first, this is for you.
7 / 10