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Full album stream: Baring Teeth – Atrophy

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This is the full album stream for Baring Teeth’s Atrophy, out now on Willowtip.

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Baring Teeth – Atrophy [full album stream]

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It’s important to go outside your comfort zone. I don’t mean doing stupid things that risk your health; I mean doing smart things that risk your complacency. You have your tastes. They make you feel good. That’s fine. But when that taste is metal – well, I don’t believe in metal as comfort food. I have all kinds of other music for that. I want metal to challenge me, to jar my consciousness. Metal should be uncomfortable.

This comes to mind when I hear Atrophy. It takes a little while for my ears to adjust. Modern production! (Not so bad – clean but not overly slick) Lots of notes! (As I get older, I increasingly want fewer notes to say more.) But I give it time. I let it work. And work it does. Dissonant sheets of texture fold into the picture. Chewy, Fender-sounding tones tickle my ears. Incantation-esque cavern vocals pin everything down. How about that descending pick tapping as riffs in “Distilled in Fire” (6:33 into the stream)? “That’s noise!” you protest. “Exactly!” I say. I’m glad you’re mad. I turn it up.

These tunes would make bitchin’ modern classical compositions. Notate them, hand them to some string ensemble, and see the gleeful (or horrified) looks on their faces as they turn their instruments into implements of aural torture.

But this isn’t just circus music. The slow parts resonate the most with me – scrapings that don’t evoke metal band references so much as trying to claw out of giant pits. Unlikely payoff comes in the hall-of-mirror jangles of “Tower of Silence” (32:43 into the stream). “Dysrhythmia gone death metal” might be a shorthand description. “Dudes unafraid to piss you off” would work, too.

In an old ’90s guitar magazine, Steve Vai said:

Did you ever have broccoli rabe, this extremely bitter Italian broccoli? When you’re a kid there’s no way you would ever like it, but now I eat bowls of it. It’s stimulating!

Writing this post and listening to this album took 42 minutes of discomfort – and I loved it. It was stimulating.

— Cosmo Lee

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