July 1, 2019 3TEETH – METAWAR (Album Review)
Some bands crash onto the scene like a meteorite and boldly demand your attention. Touring alongside the exceptional likes of Tool, Primus, Danzig, Rammstein, and HIM—along with an upcoming summer stint opening for the almighty Ministry—California’s 3TEETH have certainly not had a bad career, thus far. Formed in Los Angeles in 2013, the band released their debut, eponymous disc in 2014, and followed it up with 2017’s <shutdown.exe>. Impressive showings on Billboard and attention from the media have delivered them a large fanbase who hunger for their delicious brand of Industrial Metal.
Those very fans can prepare to be challenged, intellectually speaking, with the band’s latest. On Friday, July 5th, 2019, 3TEETH deliver their third full-length studio offering, METAWAR, thanks to Century Media Records. Bold, brash, and ballsy as ever, Vocalist and Lyricist Alexis Mincolla leads his troops—Chase Brawner (Guitar), Xavier Swafford (Keys, Synths), Andrew Means (Bass, Modular Synth), and Justin Hanson (Drums)—through the 13-song, Sean Beaven (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson) produced collection.
METAWAR opens to the introductory “HYPERSTITION,” which builds in tension as newscast soundbites paint a portrait of the chaotic strife of our modern world. This explodes into “AFFLUENZA,” an attention-grabbing portmanteau of “affluence” and “influenza” that says so much before it even begins. Truly infectious synths permeate the chorus and a bratty, Punk sexuality infests this lambasting of the virus of materialism that begets commercialism and feeds corporate greed in a mindless, endless cycle that keeps humanity enslaved by the balls.
A comment on the insanity of humanity, our addictions to religion and pills, “EXXXIT” is a chugging rocker buried in layers of delicious electronics—exactly what one would expect from these Industrial Metalheads. Next, bass explodes, introducing the tenebrous spiral of “AMERICAN LANDFILL.” Chained like dogs to our cyber-fixes, mindlessly loyal to the cesspool that we call home, 3TEETH refreshingly hold nothing back in their crucifixion of America.
With this sucker punch still weighing heavy on the ears, one is almost giddy at the mere sight of the song title “PRESIDENT X.” While, yes, this catchy stomp does malign the man in office, it prefers to go for the bigger picture. “Just another symptom of a greater disease,” Mincolla rasps in this commentary on the presidency as a whole and not an attack on the current chief. Meanwhile, the entrancing, caliginous sensuality of “ALTAER” raises pertinent questions about the opiate of the masses—religion.
Catchy mid-tempo “TIME SLAVE” erupts into driving riffs that set the scene for the non-territorial claims of “BORNLESS.” Then, languid synths and silky vocals lead the charge into the appraisal of our militaristic state that is “SURRENDER.” Here, Mincolla sneers, “I only did it for the fucking taste of war,” maligning those in power who exorcise their boredom with games of combat.
With heavy vocal effects that add a Sci-Fi twinge, “SELL YOUR FACE 2.0” dips into talk of the master race and assimilation before the band delve into “BLACKOUT.” Influencing your hips to sway, this is a track that initially sounds like a dream while it goes dark, topically, to explore the myriad ways in which we manufacture our own hells. See if you catch that Dead or Alive moment towards the end!
Serving as the perfect bridge, “THE FALL” ebbs and flows, weaving its way toward the album’s wild card and ultimate conclusion, a cover of Foster the People’s mega-hit “PUMPED UP KICKS.” The school shooting-themed track certainly fits subject-wise with its brothers and sisters throughout the collection, but it remains an intriguing selection nonetheless. 3TEETH’s take makes the normally upbeat Indie Pop offering grittier and far more ominous as Mincolla howls, “You better run, better run, outrun my gun.” It’s eerie and it closes out METAWAR with a swift boot to the senses.
3TEETH are no shrinking violets and the intelligent and hyperaware Mincolla certainly has some fierce insight into the world around him. It is this intellectual take on Industrial Metal that sets 3TEETH aside from so many of their contemporaries, a band with the impassioned cognizance of Rage Against the Machine, but who couple the sounds of KMFDM, Tool, and beyond.
While it’s certainly never recommended to tune out lyrics, 3TEETH craft songs that sound delicious and easily-digestible, that will inspire you to dance and thrash, but with a sharp wit that challenges you to think. If you’re open to this next level of appreciation, METAWAR presents an entire syllabus worth of study and thought, avoiding party lines to point a finger at the issues we all face in our modern world—gun violence, self-serving authority, mental health, etc. A truly brilliant album that impacts on so many levels, METAWAR proves that the hype surrounding 3TEETH is well-earned. For this, Cryptic Rock give 3TEETH’s METAWAR 5 of 5 stars.