Last August we premiere the debut track from Tooth and Claw — a wildly pedigreed metallic hardcore outfit featuring Scott Crouse (Earth Crisis), Daniel Austin (Die Young), James Chang (Undying, Catharsis, Sect), and Cameron Joplin (Magnitude) — and doled out roughly as much praise for it as the band doled out punishment on it:
The quartet naturally synthesizes the unique extreme music elements the band members separately conjured into existence with their past work and condenses it into an intense, vital, highly combustible new compound — think Gomorrah’s Season Ends meets circa Wolverine Blues Entombed meets the most grind n’ groove eras of Obituary meets Paradise Lost meets…well, suffice it to say Tooth and Claw packs a lot of different strains into its infectious and deadly sonic virulence.
That’s setting a pretty goddamn high bar, but Tooth and Claw easily vault over it on the extraordinarily diverse, primally heavy debut full-length Dream of Ascension — out May 21 via Good Fight — which is about as close to a tour de force as we’ve seen in metallic hardcore in some time. The album has shades of everything you love/loved about the members’ other seminal bands fused onto (positive!) surprises and (enlivening!) curveballs.
The track “Your Crucifixion,” streaming exclusively below, is a great indicator of this coming sturm und drang.
First, though, a little context courtesy vocalist Austin:
“Believe it or not, ‘Your Crucifixion’ might be the most optimistic, uplifting song on our LP. It’s a song about transcendence–transcending life’s inherently absurd and stagnant misery (LOL) towards an existence that hints at a chance of actually being meaningful — or at least one that’s perceived to be so. Who knows what’s real, illusion, or otherwise anymore given the post-truth climate of the world? Perhaps we know too much for our own good. All we can do is try our best to forge some meaning in the madness of everything that’s coming at us. In order for us to do that as well as we humanly can, we’re going to have to sift through the wisdom of the past, the knowledge and vitality of the now, and utilize the best of both to steady ourselves for the suffering that is just around the bend. No matter how you face your inevitable suffering, you’re going to be judged for it–by those around you, or if you’re lucky, the greater collective consciousness of humanity and its generations to come. People act like being judgmental is an ugly attribute of human character, but we all judge all the time, to ourselves and each other. You will judge and be judged. You are judging and being judged right now, so embrace it. Try to choose and love wisely. We wish you the best of luck on your path.
“Regarding the video, director Justin Reich said he read the lyrics and wanted to find a place that was visually fitting for the concepts in the song. He found a defunct grain silo overgrown with vines and reeds in rural North Carolina, so we all went out there to shoot the video in the 30 degree January cold. He noted that the top of the silo, with all its overgrowth, reminded him of a crown of thorns, and that was what made him decide on that shooting location.
“While ‘Your Crucifixion’ is not a song about Christianity in any way, we admit there are few metaphors in Western culture as powerful or prevalent as that of the crucifixion and, aside from being advocates of the vegan straight edge lifestyle, we are also advocates for the power of metaphor. After all, as Albert Camus posited in his classic, The Fall, ‘There are only Christians,’ whether we secular westerners identify as such or not.