Baring Teeth increase violence content, infuse added brutality into deadly ‘Transitive Savagery’

Photo by Sheryl Anaya

One of the things that always shocks me about watching any MMA fight isn’t the technique or the strategies. It’s the amount of punishment one person can take without giving up. I have a hard enough time dealing with minor amounts of pain than dealing with a constant barrage of violence directed toward making me give up or lose consciousness.

I thought about that repeatedly while taking on “Transitive Savagery,” the new third record from Dallas-based death wranglers Baring Teeth. This is the band’s first release with Translation Loss after spending time with Willowtip for their first two albums, and holy shit, did their new label ever get delivered a record that looks to wreck the listener’s life. This seven-track effort is a smothering monster from the start, and as this thing goes on, it traps you in a ground-and-pound and bloodies your face, showing zero relent. And this is a death metal record, not a real fight, so that unforgiving barrage should be welcome, even though it could lay waste to your hearing if you’re not careful. The band—Scott Addison (bass, vocals), Andrew Hawkins (guitar, vocals), Jason Roe (drums)—still has its penchant for technical wizardry, but they ignite their more violent tendencies to make their most destructive, punishing record yet, one that’ll leave you with blackened eyes.

“Quiescent Mass” is a quick opener, a 1:33-long hammer attack with forceful growls and bludgeoning intent, steamrolling right into “Abstracted Mine” and its tricky, dizzy pace. Guitars zip and loop as the track turns punishing, with the feeling of delirium sinking into your veins. The vocals chew up bones, while the pace gets zany but also brutal, with riffs keeping you off balance, piano dripping in, and the track bleeding out and right into “Perikaryon.” Guitars rip out guts, while the vocals land serious blows, and a strange haze spreads overhead. The guitars chug as we enter into shredding hell, with outright savagery afoot, and the track bashing you into unconsciousness. “Aqueous” is the longest cut, clocking in at 8:42, and it starts with noises floating, guitars hanging in the air, and the track slowly meting out its horrors. The tempo is slithering and disorienting, while the track stings and gives off the sense of intoxication, with everything blurring out into a sound pocket.

The title track starts clobbering right away, with the riffs drilling into your teeth, noise spiraling away, and strange guitars adding to the confusion. That leads the song down a destructive path, with blows raining down and leading its victim a bloody mess. “Vertiginous Noise” unloads thrashy guitars, a bizarre pace that’ll have your head spinning, and some jazzy bass work to add a little class to the joint. The vocals then scorch your flesh, as the band ups the ante of brutality, led by the guitar work just going off. The band shoots into some outright weirdness before chaos ensues all over again, and the track is beaten into a fine powder that blows off into the night. Closer “Impressions Left Behind” has the guitars going nuts at the front end before calm sets in, and the bass creeps into the picture and stomps your injured digits. Voices warble in echoes, while the intensity begins to build, making this thrashier as it goes. The guitars dizzy while the vocals scrape, and from there, the melodies entangle dangerously, with the final roars bursting everything into flames.

The assault you experience on “Transitive Savagery” is almost too much to take and will have you questioning your own ability to withstand punishment. Baring Teeth make a strong statement on this third record that they are bloody serious and more than willing to dish out however much devastation they think you deserve. This is a malevolent turning point for the band, going from one that delivers technical mastery to one that’ll take your head off.

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