Album Review: 3TEETH – ”shutdown.exe”

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3TEETH have earned themselves quite a reputation ever since the release of their critically acclaimed debut album made its mark on the industrial scene three years ago. Suffice to say, their sophomore record <shutdown.exe> has been awaited with eager anticipation.

And it delivers on its promises. Described by frontman Alexis Mincolla as a concept album that seeks to shut down ‘consensus reality tunnels’, its thirteen tracks continue the theme of stark social commentary that the band is known for, with lyrics like “Fed from the hand/No seat at the table/You drink from the plan/Direct from the cable” taken from doom-laden stoner metal-esque ‘Slavegod’ being but one example. This emphasis on technology is also brought to life through the music itself, nowhere more so than in ‘Tower of Disease’ where a repeated siren noise raises the alarm before turntable scratching introduces a chorus of vocals so distorted they can only be likened to a group of Daleks having a breakdown.

It’s not difficult to understand either why 3TEETH are endlessly compared to the likes of Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and Ministry amongst others; there’s unmistakable influence in songs like ‘Atrophy’, ‘Shutdown’ and ‘Degrade’ that shows they have a clever knack for honouring the legacy of their industrial forefathers by combining all their best signature sounds – an achievement in itself. That being said, it would be wrong to purely consider their music a mere copycat style as several standout tracks on the album capture a unique sound that belongs to 3TEETH alone. ‘Voiceless’ is already complemented by the fact that it features backing vocals provided by Kanga, however echoing screams of “Silence” in the outro ensure that its content lingers in your consciousness; ‘Insubstantia’ meanwhile contains a hint of ambient post-rock chord progressions in the pre-chorus that adds a surreal twist to a sinister synth-induced atmosphere.  

Above all, though, it’s the final track on the album that deserves the most attention – opening with the unapologetically graphic line “I have a firm grip on reality/I can strangle it any time I like”, ‘Away From Me’ is characterized by slow foreboding drums in the verses that imitate a march procession and defiance in the face of oppressive authority. The affirmation “You’ll never take my mind away from me” serves as a resounding answer to the album’s theme of false reality, and the use of piano melody in the outro adds a particularly chilling touch to a dystopian masterpiece of a song.

<shutdown.exe> is as heavy and as harsh as you could want industrial metal to be. It’s also irresistibly dark, intense and thought-provoking, offering something far beyond your average listening experience that’s not for the faint of heart. Occasional filler songs could have been dropped, but overall 3TEETH’s latest work is a diverse album that leaves an impression, proving that that they are pioneers in their own right of the next wave of industrial music.

[Anni Payne]

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