EP Review: Swollen Teeth – Swollen Teeth

Mysterious masked metallers Swollen Teeth leave 1,000 bloody mouths in their wake with a jaw-loosening debut...

EP Review: Swollen Teeth – Swollen Teeth
Sam Law

Looking at the cast of grimy luminaries who’ve already linked their names to mysterious masked collective Swollen Teeth, it’s easy to imagine what noise they might make. Wildcard Slipknot turntablist Sid Wilson is responsible for some of the most unhiinged, abrasive sounds from the original wave of nu metal. Legendary producer Ross Robinson was the man who hit record on those sonic nightmares (and wrung out so many more). Then there’s trap-metal overlord Ghostemane: a modern enigma fixated on dragging at the boundaries of dark, extreme music.

On one level, this self-titled, five-track debut brutally meets expectations. Rumbling in on a storm of skull-cracking percussion, doom-drenched synths, snarling riffs, scratched vinyl, blaring sirens and booming gunshots, tracks like Car Crash and Crooked feel like perfectly unsettling nuggets for fans of early Slipknot. But vocalist/sampler Megaa also does a fine line in emo-flavoured clean singing: cries of ‘Let’s make some sense of what is going on / We can’t feel the pain we cause you’ adding another, more vulnerable layer of mania from the moment opener Empty jolts into life.

It’s a short, sharp shock, too. Clocking in at just over 15 minutes, Swollen Teeth feels like an EP designed to establish an atmosphere and aura rather than a full picture ready to be dissected and dug into. The 220-second centrepiece Bike Ride is the most vital moment in doing so, swerving from haunting ambience to buzzsaw riffage and real bludgeon like an out-of-control shuttle to the mental asylum. The title-track drags us deeper still. But you’re quickly left off, shaken and scorched, craving another fix from whatever these new maniacs rustle up next.

Rating: 4/5

For fans of: Slipknot, Ghostemane, The Used

Swollen Teeth is released on April 28 via Blowed Out.

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