What a treat, boys and girls; what an incredible treat. Thanks to Mayfly Records, I found out about Pray For Teeth today. You're welcome, in advance, for the music you're about to discover. Being a sucker for anything sludgy, doom-inspired, or even post-metal, this band rang up all my numbers. Good God, boys and girls. This is the darkest, most punishing, inspired, heartfelt release I've heard in a while. That's what I'm into--and so are you.
Pray your gods:
"Paper Courage" - Right off the bat, these Pennsylvania boys hit a great chord for me. Starting off with a fuzzy, uber-distorted, melodic riff, they get right into this self-flagellating hymn with all the speed and ferocity of a stoned serial killer (or, "slow" for all of you who don't get analogies). For the sake of this illustration, Pray For Teeth doesn't only make you pay for your sins with this track, they watch while you repent, and decide that your efforts are futile. With the technicality and precision of bands like Isis and Mono, PFT gives us ever-changing lead riffs over thick bass slabs, scratched and scraped by hoarse vocals--the kind of vocals that make you taste blood in the back of your own throat, just by listening. Just another point for PFT, this song has some of the most literary lyrics of any metal/hardcore band I've ever heard. "Kick through every pane of glass, choke out any feral thoughts you have." What a treat.
"Heavy Restless" - Feedback is the best way to start any song. I've always held to this, and when bands utilize feedback the right way (see: Converge, Young And In The Way), I get a tingle from the base of my spine to my brain stem. That being said, thank Pray For Teeth for doing this the RIGHT WAY. After their brief, but beautiful, love affair with feedback, the hoarse vocals are back in full force. Deciding to scrap subtlety for the sake of punishment, this track is the hot knife that was sharpened during "Paper Courage" and is cutting through the flesh of forgiveness. Unrelenting and unforgiving, even the beautiful parts of this song (which, believe me, are many) are followed succinctly by harsh, violent changes. This is a masterpiece of Post-metal, Sludge, and Doom.
There is no doubt, from the opening chords to the ending line, "Me, I'm still finding feathers in my hair," that Pray For Teeth set out to make the most intriguing, punishingly beautiful metal/hardcore album for the year--and they did it. This isn't just music, this is literature, this is art, this is Van Gogh, this is Warhol, this is Da Vinci. This is everything that has been done, and has yet to be done. Thank whatever god you choose for this album, and buy it. You're only hurting yourself if you don't.