It had been hoped-for for an age, and finally someone delivered. 3TEETH on tour in the UK. I made it to the hot, sweaty London show, and even managed to catch all of the bands.
Randolph & Mortimer
Curiously, two of the bands playing – and, frankly, the two bands I was there to see – I interviewed both very early on in their careers (links in the box), before had actually released any actual EPs or albums, but it was clear that there was potential in both acts, and so it has proved. Although maybe the trajectories of both have been rather different so far. There were two other bands, too, but I have to say that neither really did too much for me.
We only caught a small portion of Biomechanimal – and they seemed a little out of place on this bill. This was, well, kinda-harsh EBM with bass drops, and not a lot of variety, from what I heard. Not a style that is really my bag anyway, certainly not any more, and I saw little here that might change my mind.
Jayce Lewis may now have “rebranded” himself under the band name Protafield, but I didn’t see anything to change my views from the last time I saw his band, supporting Sulpher back in 2012. It is still slick, industrial-tinged metal, full of double-bass kicks like Fear Factory, and elements of countless other similar bands from the past. Nothing new, nothing really of note, lots of intense metal with electronics and little heart – and lots of merch to sell that seemed to be doing a good trade.
The other two bands were, happily, far better. Randolph & Mortimer have, at long last, started to make quite a buzz, partly assisted by the quality of their own releases so far, but also helped by remixes for 3TEETH and Cyanotic, and long-awaited gigging, of which this show was the first of a few that have now been announced (including Resistanz 2016 in their hometown of Sheffield). It was also notable that this was their first live show to a paying audience (I was at the first show in February), and while things went very well indeed at that show, I was curious to see how things might work out in a more unforgiving atmosphere.
Ballad of the Iron Lady
Sistema Dañado (The System Doesn’t Work)
März Der Demokratie
Existing, Not Living
[image courtesy of R&M Facebook]
Broadly, actually, things went very well indeed, but it didn’t look that way to start with. It was plainly obvious watching the band for the first few songs that they were not happy – conversations later confirmed monitor issues and a drummer who couldn’t hear his click track at all – but the sound mix wasn’t great either. So I was watching in concern that things may not work out as hoped – particularly frustrating as there was an impressive crowd that had come forward for only the second band on the bill.
Thank god, then, that as the pure-EBM of Body thundered across the room, the sound gremlins seemed to clear themselves and the band visibly loosened up – whether the other issues sorted themselves was unclear. The bulk of the set was similar to what I saw previously, too, aside from one belting new track called Exclude/Divide that has a hulking brute of a rhythm and should sound great in clubs when it sees a release. But more importantly, this set worked well as an introduction to the band for those not already familiar, and in some respects reaffirmed how much I like what they are doing. Like a number of like-minded artists we’ve seen break through of late, they are taking “old” industrial sounds and repurposing them, with newer production techniques and maybe a more open-minded approach than we’ve seen in a while, with them not being afraid to look at influences from way beyond this small scene.
You can, by the way, get R&M’s latest single Enjoy More and the previous $ocial £utures €p on Bandcamp.
The headliners 3 TEETH should now need no introduction into our “scene”, having firmly established themselves after a successful debut album (ok, more than successful, it’s brilliant – and was of course the amodelofcontrol.com album of the year 2014), and going from a handful of gigs to headlining festivals and tours within a year.
I was lucky enough to see one of the band’s earlier live shows, a hotly anticipated appearance at Cold Waves III last year. Only the second band on the bill that night, as impressive as the set was, it did feel a little…mechanical at points, as if the band were still feeling their way into their live sound. It wasn’t as if they were disappointing, mind, it was just some songs weren’t quite as powerful as they should have been.
Pearls 2 Swine
Sell Your Face
Master of Decay
It took all of about a minute of this set to rectify that thought. They absolutely tore into NIHIL – once the ominous intro was over the whole band looked like they were ready to tear the place up as the guitar-led rhythm chugged into life, and the crowd reacted like it had been jolted with electricity, with much of the crowd punching their fists in the air as they chanted “BOUND BY FLESH / FREED BY BLOOD“. Things got even more insane as they went straight into the thrashing, speed-metal of X-Day *and* what I still see as their best track, the anthemic, pounding Final Product. Not a bad opening trio, all told.
What was remarkable over the hour-long set, though, was that they barely stopped for breath. Their music generally has quite an intensity to it, and this only dropped at all during the two slower tracks, which I must confess were unexpected choices live, but both worked well.
The new tracks – there were three of them – were all impressive beasts, too, and so far seem to point toward a much heavier sound for any new release. Sell Your Face we already knew, of course, with it’s Godflesh-esque, grinding monster of a chorus, but the other two upped the ante further. Slavegod was the joker, with the audible lyrics suggesting a song critiquing religion (to put it mildly), and a dense sound construction that suggested I really need to hear this one recorded, while Degrade was a brute of a track – complete with a savage, chugging chorus that brought to mind Marilyn Manson’s The Reflecting God, in a good way. Is this a move to out-and-out industrial metal?
Whatever they do, though, it is fairly clear that 3TEETH have come on in leaps and bounds since they first appeared. Astute use of marketing – i.e. their look, their internet presence, the media used and abused – has always been in perfect lockstep with their music, and their sound has developed and broadened in that time. Not only that, but they have been at the vanguard of a resurgence in industrial over the past couple of years, as many new bands from all over have picked up various influences and fashioned them to their own means – finally meaning that “goblin vocals” and dull 4/4 beats are no-longer all we are hearing. There is a time and a place for the latter, but it has become increasingly clear that many, many people want more than that.
3TEETH are not saviours – no band can be that. They are just an exceptionally good industrial band, who have a knack with toying with sound and imagery to create a much greater whole. And they can now add being a genuinely brilliant live band to the list.