Not what you want, but maybe what you need
At one point in time, the onstage theater productions were the only mode of non-self-made entertainment people had. The drama, the theatrics—in their own right, they’re enticing, beguiling and charmingly amusing. But how far can those qualities really go once they’re taking off the stage? That’s a question Los Angeles industrial act 3TEETH either purposely or inadvertently try to answer with their latest album Metawar. As if industrial as a genre isn’t enough of a spectacle, 3TEETH somehow manage to make it even more ostentatious in its nature, without necessarily adding anything to the overall sonic conversation surround the genre itself. There’s definitely a way to do industrial justice, but 3TEETH just end up doing the most.
That’s possibly because of how they play entirely too much into what a Los Angeles industrial band should sound like. Starting with the opening audio of “Hyperstition,” 3TEETH don’t bring much innovation to the table. “Affluenza” boasts some of the more solid, cleaner production on the record, but that’s about it. It whirrs in stagnancy, not really building off its purposefully buzzy riffs and drum drubbing. “American Landfill” finds itself in the same situation—drums at the forefront, without much more than some chugging loops to back it up.
It’s not all a wash, though. “President X” takes the obvious (and always enjoyable) jab at the figurehead position, while “Sell Your Face 2.0” pokes at the digital dependency of humans constantly seeking validation. Alexis Mincolla yells “Sell! Sell!” with a Marilyn Manson-esque fervor and indignation, driving home the lyrical intent of the track.
What’s better, is the unexpected (and honestly, not that bad) cover 3TEETH decided to conclude the record with. Most probably don’t expect more extreme music makers to be the biggest fans of Top 40 hits, yet 3TEETH show their appreciation for at least one of them—Foster the People’s 2010 indie-pop hit “Pumped Up Kicks.” They take almost a full minute to unleash familiarity of the song, as the intro of the song is obviously heavier than its original. Mincolla delivers the lines almost with the same cadence, only creepier.
It’s likely they chose that track not (just) because of its heavy popularity, but because of its subject matter. The song is about a school shooting and, granted the nature of some of the other songs on Metawar, it fits in with the societal commentary Mincolla is shouting about. Even if Metawar doesn’t necessarily add anything to the industrial music conversation, it’s contributing to a larger dialogue that needs addressing.