The genre-bending local band delivers a difficult but rewarding new album.
Hyper-aggressive sludge slingers Teethmarks are difficult to pin down. Their Facebook page is unhelpful—it describes the local four-piece as “crossover.” Their sound occupies a space where disparate genres and influences shade into each other. There are moments when a fuzzed-out bit of ’70s stoner rock will suddenly grow harsher and colder, bristling into black metal; or when a crusty riff will suddenly mellow into sludge. While they’ve always enjoyed smashing genres to bits and smearing the resulting mess around, never have they been so gleeful in doing so than on their latest full-length, Survival.
Set to be released on October 28, Survival is a howling, clawing record that makes no bones about the fact that it wants to shake the life out of the listener. The opening track, “Sea of Violence,” is a blistering leading piece with bullying riffs and a thick, mean guitar tone. While hardcore punk abandon is never far from the surface, Survival does a great job of working itself into some deep, brooding grooves, especially on the black-metal-tinged “Absentee.”
The record succeeds at something quite unusual: it incorporates a great deal of stoner and sludge influences, but never allows the listener to relax into the fuzzed-out, seductive places those tones create. The listener is never able to get comfortable; there’s too much barbed wire and steel wool, too many sudden eruptions of violence. They ensure that Survival is not an easy listen—but it is an enthralling one.