I’m torn on how I feel about the band’s 3rd release. Is it a great album? Yes. Is it what I was expecting from 3Teeth? No. Were my expectations too high for the band? Maybe? Like many others, I came across 3Teeth’s self-titled release almost on accident thanks to the band’s opening slot on TOOL’s 2016 North American tour, and there was no looking back.
I had high hopes for Metawar, especially after finding out that Sean Beavan would be producing the album. Vocalist and founder Alexis Mincolla told us last spring in Kansas City that ” we enlisted Sean Beavan for this one. This is our 3rd album. We’re called 3Teeth. We’ve gotta blow album 3 outta the park.”
Beavan has mixed, produced, and engineered albums for Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, A Perfect Circle, and many others. It was the music that Beavan helped to craft in his early years, Pretty Hate Machine, The Downward Spiral, Antichrist Superstar, and Mechanical Animals, that helped to shape how I listened to music and turned my ears to the heavier side of the Rock, Metal, and Industrial genres. I’m a child of the 90’s, and Beavan’s albums were always in heavy rotation in my CD player, even if teenage rural Iowa me had no idea who the guy was.
Flash forward 25 years, and my taste in music has ever so slightly evolved, much like the bands I’ve followed for the past 3 decades.
Metawar is a concept album of sorts. While the band’s self-titled release was centered around Man vs Himself, <shutdown.exe> broadened that focus to Man vs. World. Metawar completes the trilogy with a World vs. World conceptualization. 3Teeth’s music has evolved since their inception. The band’s self-titled, and sophomore releases are organized chaos. Dirty. Brutal. Unrelenting. Metawar feels more polished, and precisely executed. There’s still a sonic vulgarity behind the band’s music, but it’s presented in its Sunday best.
I remember Greenday’s Billie Jo Armstrong talking about the seriousness presented in the band’s 2004 American Idiot release, and the stylistic and lyrical change of direction for the band from 2002’s Shennanigans. Basically he said that it was okay to be an angry man in his 20s spouting off on stage in a punk band but he’s in his 30s now and that anger needs to have focus, purpose and a reason to be angry other than just being angry. Metawar is 3Teeth’s American Idiot. After a few listens, I find there are more parallels between the two albums. Each deals with the dissolution caused by modern society, especially the social and political aspects that influence our everyday lives. Where American Idiot told the story of Jesus of Suburbia, the album’s anti-hero, and Saint Jimmy, I hear the entirety of Metawar as being told from the reptilian President X’s perspective, but it’s not until the album’s 4th full track that we see the man behind the mask. One subject missing from American Idiot that is touched on in Metawar is the advent of social media and way people have disassociated themselves from the real world.
We’ve already heard 4 singles ahead of the album’s release, American Landfill, Affluenza, EXXXIT, and President X. These four tracks give a glimpse of what to expect from Metawar. Hearing them in the album’s setting though gives a deeper understanding of the tracks individual placement. Metawar starts out strong and doesn’t let up.
Altaer is full of aggression and frustration. Time Slave starts off as a banger, gives us a quick moment to catch our breath, then gut punches us back to reality. Bornless is unrelenting in its sonic brutality. Sell Your Face 2.0 is a definite gem on the album. The band has been playing the track live since 2015 but are just now releasing a studio recording. As cool as the original live version is, the studio version is haunting. It’s definitely got a Cyle of the Wurm/Antichrist Superstar vibe to it. Blackout and The Fall fit together perfectly as the album’s closing tracks as the albums drags us deeper into the post-apocalyptic sonic landscape. 3Teeth’s cover of Foster the People’s Pumped Up Kicks is not the track I was expecting them to cover. Honestly speaking, I was hoping the band would shy away from cover songs. The song itself was inspired by incredibly dark subject matter that has become the U.S.’s new normal; school shootings. Summer of 2011 was dominated by that damn song, and 3Teeth’s new spin on the indie pop hit will absolutely broaden their fan base.
I can’t get into the deeper occult and numerology meanings of the album’s tracks because honestly I’m not as educated as 3Teeth’s founder and lyricist Alexis Mincolla. I’ve had the honor of speaking with Mincolla in person twice, and his intellectual level is quite intimidating. After talking with Mincolla, I firmly believe that there’s no such thing as a casual fan of 3Teeth. You either get their music, or you don’t. It’s all or nothing. 3Teeth are trying to open our eyes to the world around us. The band makes us think, question, and reject the new normal, and that’s why we love them.
|10.||“Sell Your Face 2.0”||3:49|
|13.||“Pumped Up Kicks (Foster The People cover)”||4:32|