Transitive Savagery might very well be the most apropos album title of 2018 — Baring Teeth deftly instills its primal, earthy approach to summoning pandemonium with a subversive technicality and revolutionary fervor that will likely resuscitate the black dead hearts of even the most discerning and/or jaded death metal connoisseur.
“Our goal has always been to make death metal that’s raw while also pushing boundaries and not shying away from being forward-thinking,” guitarist/vocalist Andrew Hawkins explains. “We’ve never aimed to have our records sound perfect, which adds to the chaotic ‘live’ feel we’re looking to achieve. I always look at older Cryptopsy as the ideal mix between technicality and chaos — records like Whisper Supremacy walk the line between incredible precision and an insane, unhinged feel. The ‘earthiness’ of the artwork and lyrics fit into this idea, too. We want the overall package — music, artwork, lyrics, production — to be primal, dirty, and alien.”
We’re still a little more than a month out from the release of Transitive Savagery — preorder here — but by way of demonstration Decibel this morning presents an exclusive premiere of the track “Abstracted Mind” below…
“This song has one riff in particular — the ‘staggering’ riff about halfway through — that we set out to make as disorienting as possible,” Hawkins says. “The way we wrote that part was a lot different than our usual approach. Jason originally came up with a drum beat that really threw me for a loop. I wrote the guitar riff on top of that, and then he wrote a new drum beat on top of that riff. We had to really break that part down to get it ready for recording. I remember us spending multiple practices working out the transition into that part. It really caused our heads to hurt after a while, hah. But we don’t ever want to feel like a part is ‘too much’ of anything so as to prevent us from using it. If it works within the context of the song, we’re going to roll with it.”
It’s a helluva way for Baring Teeth to significantly raise the stakes from 2014’s excellent-in-its-own-right Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins — a long gestation period essential to the nuanced, multilayered music the Dallas, Texas trio creates.
“The funny thing about the length of time between records is that we’ve never taken a break,” Hawkins says. “We were writing the entirety of those four years. As much as I wish we could release a record every two years and stick to an ‘album cycle,’ we need a lot of space to flesh out these songs. One of the most enjoyable parts about being in this band is that we don’t impose limits on ourselves. We do what’s necessary to fully realize our songs as we see fit, and we don’t compromise or settle if we feel the material is not yet up to snuff. We put in the work we need to in order to write music that speaks to us.”
And did anything surprise Hawkins personally about the way Transitive Savagery manifested?
“When I heard the finished record I was surprised by how aggressive it came out,” he says. “It was a welcome surprise, though – the goal throughout the entire process was to make a more immediate and brutal record than Ghost Chorus. However, when you’re in the thick of writing and recording it can be hard to know for sure if your approach is bringing about the desired effect. Listening back now, I think we pushed the needle on our sound and brought out some extra rawness that sets this album apart from anything we’ve done before. We never want to repeat ourselves or rehash themes from previous records. We always have new ideas in mind on how we can take our ideas farther and challenge ourselves as musicians and songwriters.”
Photo by Sheryl Anaya/Album artwork by Andrew Notsch