Baring Teeth play harshly dissonant music that transcends some of the very boundaries of dissonance itself. Rather than sticking with “pure” grindcore or black metal or anything else on their Transitive Savagery LP, out now via Translation Loss Records, they blend all these styles and more into a work that rockets above lowly genre considerations. Their latest record is Baring Teeth’s third.
For the band, they reach their high point through focusing less on the strict practicalities of the sound itself and more on the mood and the overarching theme underlying where they’re going, they explain, which helps them emerge in their harsh and strange territory.
“Most of our inspiration comes from moods rather than thinking ‘let’s write a part that sounds like this,'” the band’s guitarist Andrew Hawkins says. “The first song on the record we knew had to be really chaotic and brief, and the last song really creepy and unconventional. Once you lay down those baselines, you just start to fill in the gaps.”
The effort to bridge those two end posts takes Baring Teeth through a wild free fall of shattering heavy textures, a glimmering doom metal sheen and beyond. No stone gets left unturned and no path uncrossed in the band’s wild aims.
For instance, Hawkins explains: “The doomier sections play a huge part in what we do and are needed to create the unease we’re trying to convey. Because we throw in slow parts so rarely, they (hopefully) have a larger impact on the listener and impart an epic feeling to those sections of the album. It’s a good climactic tool.”
The band go outside of what’s strictly considered “metal” too. To suggest that nothing feels sonically off limits for Baring Teeth on their newest undertaking would be an understatement. As Hawkins puts it: “We take a lot of non-metal inspirations and techniques and transpose them into a metal sound.”
“That sounds much more laudatory than it’s meant to,” he adds, laughing, “but I see our uniqueness as coming from using chords, drum patterns, rhythms, etc. that aren’t typically found in metal and just making them as intense as possible. Metal is all about attitude, you know?”
At the core of their wildly ambitious work, there remains a bulwark of control. Adding to the magnitude of their music, somehow again and again, the band steer their creation back to what Hawkins feels is a cathartic core rattling around in the midst of their utter mayhem. Abandoning others’ guideposts and lighthouses and charting their own course, they’re left with themselves to hold onto.
“The best function any art serves is as a source of catharsis,” the guitarist says. “I’ve had a few people tell me that our music has helped them through difficult times in their lives, and that’s really impactful to hear. Good art should make you feel something. The most negative response I can think of to our band is indifference. I’d rather someone hate us than say ‘meh’. One way or another, I want them to remember it.”
“For me, it’s like walking on a tightrope,” he adds, zeroing in on the physical expression of their music in the live setting. “Between the complexity of the songs, the new things we’ll throw into them to keep them fresh for ourselves, and the general anxiousness of playing live, it makes for a pretty breathless experience (in a good way).”
Check out Transitive Savagery on Spotify