Baring Teeth – Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins (Willowtip)Tuesday, 25th November 2014
Now that we’re close to wrapping up 2014, some kind of term to describe the year that was in death metal is needed. The term shall be “weird,” and nothing else. The likes of Morbus Chron and Horrendous were doused with gallons of critical acclaim, furthering the cause for more inventive, less regressive death metal. Whether such calls will be headed in 2015 remains to be seen (it’s likely the barrage of retro bands will continue), but add another band to the weirdo list, Dallas, TX-based Baring Teeth.
The band formerly known as Soviet (which is way cooler than Baring Teeth. C’mon guys. Stick your necks out!), has an additional album to their credit, 2011’s Atrophy, which may or may not have resonated. Regardless, the band’s new Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins is a big ‘ole step into the world of dissonant, sometimes avant-garde, but always “whacked” death metal. It’s not of the hyper or crazed variety like Gigan, nor does it firmly have two feet planted in Swedish death metal, but the tunes here are formless, and usually worth a jolt or two. A lot of this comes from the riff wrangles courtesy of Andrew Hawkins (fact: There is a player on the Cleveland Browns of the same name. Nice!), who clearly is in tune with classic Voivod, based upon his excellent work on cuts like “Mountain” and earworm that is “Dripping Sun.”
Not surprisingly, one needs to demonstrate some flexibility to fall in line with what Baring Teeth is doing. Some of these cuts have no baseline to work from, so it’s almost like a puzzle piece. But, there’s some serious value in pushing beyond the company line in death metal, something the band does rather well across Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins. Score another one for the weird.