There is nothing like a good sonic brawl to grab attention and get the blood rushing feverishly through the body, and that is exactly what you get with The Knuckledragger EP from US noise punks Them Teeth. The three track assault is an uncompromising and galvanic incitement for ears and emotions, one so potent that within a single listen it had permanently placed itself in The RR’s favourite violation list for 2015.
Its creators, Western Michigan trio Them Teeth arose in 2013, formed from the ashes of Supercontinent, Rough Rope, and Mean Mother by vocalist/guitarist Ben Roeske and drummer Adam Tatro. The following year saw the line-up completed by bassist Jason Harris and the self-release of a well-received self-titled demo containing six songs bred on inspirations of 90s noise rock and early 2000s Hydra Head Records encounters amongst many things. As that offering and now The Knuckledragger reveal, there is plenty more to the Them Teeth sound though, plenty of diverse strains of toxicity to savage and seduce body and soul.
The EP seizes ears and appetite straight away with the raw, grouchy entrance of opener Hammslamm. Guitar and bass grumble with attitude and resonance first, their grudge backed by the firm handed swing of drum sticks. It is a controlled and predatory start but one becoming more volatile with every passing second, especially once the caustic vocal squall of Roeske spills animosity. Acidic infectious grooves soon vein the unrelenting stalking and pressure on the senses, the song’s raw rock ‘n’ roll constantly igniting greater hunger in ears and emotions, especially when it break outs Sex Pistols seeded riffs and hooks midway. Like Whores meets KEN mode with the sludgy venom of Nightslug but managing to be simultaneously unique, the track is a mighty start quickly matched by its successor.
Whitewash is lighter on its feet but just as aggressively imposing and energetically rebellious. Like a middleweight flitting round its opponent looking for weaknesses, the track swings hooks and rhythmic jabs before going for the jugular in raucously honed choruses. The raw rapacity of a Coilguns or Shevils comes to mind as the song continues to challenge the senses, spilling rousing contagion and rugged animosity with open relish.
The EP is closed by a thrilling cover of the Fiends track Packin’ A Rod and Them Teeth give it new life and character to dare we say actually outshine the original. It is noise soaked punk ‘n’ roll at its best with great backing roars from Debra Warren and Lara Tatro alongside additional guitar exploits from Mitch Anderson, a classic song given a face and body lift to rousing effect.
We can expect to hear plenty more of and from Them Teeth ahead, indeed they have a 7″ split with France’s brilliant Sofy Major via Detroit’s Corpse Flower Records on the horizon, and if anything matches or can actually surpass the outstanding The Knuckledragger we are all in for a thrilling bruising.
The Knuckledragger EP is available digitally and on Ltd Ed 7” vinyl from August 25 via Triple Eye Industries.