Industrial metal, as a genre, has never held back from telling the listener just how fucked up things are. From tracks such as Ministry’s "N.W.O." to Nine Inch Nails’ "Head Like a Hole," the industrial scene has put the bleakest and meanest subject matter to a groove perfect for stomping out frustrations on the dance floor at your local underground night. The guys in 3TEETH have capitalized on the absolute madness of the current state of the union, and as such have unleashed their latest opus Metawar, their third album overall, and their first album under Century Media Records. With Metawar, the band proves that they are a force to be reckoned with, with detuned guitars, thumping bass, and singer/songwriter Alexis Mincolla’s powerful vocal work.
After the sound bite mania that is the opening track "Hyperstition," the album kicks off with a bang in "Affluenza," a scathing take on corporate support, the "thoughts and prayers" sort of passive support when the latest tragedy strikes. It’s one of the singles from the album, and with good reason. "EXXXIT" marches in after it with a stompy groove, and a quiet verse, loud chorus dynamic that punches up this track in the best ways.
"American Landfill" may be my favorite track from this album, as Alexis Mincolla sings a few lines of the verse, before firing off with a fast-talking (read: fast-growling) verse before the chorus. The guitars are chugging in this headbanger of a track, and it bleeds into "President X." The video for this song does the story justice, one about a lizard man taking the mantle of the most powerful being in the free world, and yet nothing changes from administration to administration. Wait, did I say lizard man? Ah, shit, I hear the conspiracy theorists with their tin foil hats gathering as we speak…
"Altær" lets up on the gas just the slightest bit, giving way for a slower, more brooding track about worshipping false deities and putting one’s faith in something they have no business putting it in. “Time Slave” highlights the dick-kicking nature of Father Time; that is, time goes on, whether we do or not. The chorus lends itself to what could be a great call and response moment with the scream of "TIME SLAVE" every other line. “Bornless” kicks things back into gear with a vocal delivery that is savage and accessible all at once.
"Surrender" flips a table with its opening, before taking it easy for the verse. It is a hulking, methodical track that is less frenzy and more fury. With the current climate of ICE and raids conducted out of racism and hate, the lyrics are a haunting portrait of just what goes on in the raids we all hear about in the news and on social media. "Sell Your Face 2.0" lampoons the selfie generation, the FaceTune types and the Instagram junkies. Perhaps this song was a "called it" moment for that FaceApp thing people went gaga for…
"Blackout" is droning and harrowing, musically the most unsettling track of the album. The bass line in the verse thumps on behind Alexis’ more melodic muttering, before the guitars kick in come verse two. As things come crashing down around the persona, the sky is blacked out, the sun is obscured, and it all goes to hell in epic fashion. "The Fall," the album’s penultimate track, has a spacey, dreamy feel to it, some would argue a Deftones sort of flavor.
To cap things off, the band covers Foster the People’s bleak but peppy track "Pumped Up Kicks," the lyrics becoming ever more haunting in this age of "what mass shooting went on today?" This version strips away the poppy, happy tones of the original song, which made the discordance which followed even stronger. On an album full of bleak, stark tracks, the recognizable nature of this track helps make it an emphatic closer, all while delivering the message on gun violence and the mass shooting epidemic in the United States.
3TEETH's Metawar is a heavy-handed album. It is a ball peen hammer that the metal world needs to be hit with. Three albums into their run, the band has found their sound and their niche, and are executing it to brutal perfection. Metawar is a product of its time, sure, but the effect it stands to have on the metal and industrial worlds will last for ages to come.