3Teeth – ‘EndEx’

By Katherine Allvey

If you are looking for your pop industrial fix and you no longer want to listen to Rammstein or Marilyn Manson due to, uh, “reasons”, you need to mainline ‘EndEx’, 3Teeth’s first release in four years. They’re proudly flying the flag woven by Nine Inch Nails above a noisy, rusty-meshed labyrinth of an album that’s taken a long time to build and will need even longer to fully explore. The potential robot uprising in the near future has occupied their minds, pushing them to create an industrial doomsday prophecy set to music.

The first taste of what was to come arrived in May in the form of teaser single ‘Scorpion’, a venomous ear worm that burrows into your memory and attacks with shrieking guitar jaws. Frontman Alexis Mincolla explains that “the scorpion symbolises the challenge to confront and integrate those parts of ourselves that we repress, ignore, or fear. To acknowledge and embrace the scorpion is to accept the necessity of change”, which sounds very impressive and somewhat bewildering. While the depth of metaphor is not always apparent in a record that sounds like the soundtrack to a first-person shooter game set on an alien planet, it’s an enjoyably doom-laden thrasher. Similarly, ‘Slum Planet’ is supposed to represent Mincolla’s fears about climate change and global pollution. However, unless you read the lyrics, you won’t notice that. It’s a hair-flinging, boot-stomping smash, and there’s no point in pondering what 3Teeth’s stance on climate change is when their songs are playing loud.

‘Drift’ is the closest we get to a small-scale, personal song. If Trent Reznor was looking down on a ruined city, this would be the nihilistic track that he would write. There’s no vast fantasy video or wide political agenda to accompany this one, just personal responses and long, drawn-out electronica. It’s the song you’d fake your own death to. While 3Teeth have a long history of poking the political bear and taking inspiration from the brutality they see around them in Los Angeles, such as poverty and mass shootings, it’s gratifying to hear something come from their hearts rather than just another soapbox response.

They haven’t entirely removed themselves from their political commentary, however. Their third collaboration to date with punk-rap hybrid outfit Ho99o9, ‘Paralyze’, seems to address drug addiction and fake news at the same time. It’s a confusing and disjointed track that attempts to cram in fake radio voice overs, guest vocalist theOGM’s whispers and shouts, and the sounds of a woman experiencing intimate pleasure. Sometimes, 3Teeth over-reach by trying to use their vast storehouse of knowledge of mythology, politics and trolling in a single song and overshoot their target. Rather than an intriguing puzzle to untangle, this top loading of references and philosophies can be alienating rather than interesting. Fortunately, even the most obscure songs on ‘EndEx’ have a positively destructive guitar storm to blow your bewilderment away.

A cover of Tears For Fears’ ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ is simultaneously the most and least on-brand track for 3Teeth. It fits with their paranoid visions and suspicions about systemic structures as well as their mission to reinvent music popularised while they were still in primary school. On the other hand, it’s such a well-known, light pop classic that it stands out as a lightweight track amid the sheer slamming of the rest of the album. Regardless of the intention behind this cover, the gnawing menace of the vocal effects and bullet-like tones will mean you never hear the original the same way again.

‘EndEx’ reminds us 3Teeth’s greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. Their songs sound very similar, but if you like overblown, exaggerated metal on a grand scale, you will forgive them for making a very homogenous record. If you don’t, ‘EndEx’ will sound like the soundtrack to an endless battle scene, or what leaks out of the bedroom door when you’re on a weekend gaming binge. However, if you’re on the fence about 3Teeth or industrial in general, this is a brilliant album to sink your incisors into in order to absorb its power like a cyberdog vampire. They’ve amped up every aspect of their sound on ‘EndEx’: the guitars sound more like murder weapons, the drums more explosive and the screams more organ-crushing. The upwards trajectory they began with ‘Metawar’ is continuing, and they’ll only become mightier with each release.

Kate Allvey

Three more album reviews for you

Have Mercy - 'Numb'

LIVE: Hot Milk @ Kentish Town Forum

LIVE: Babymetal @ The Roundhouse, London