Teeth of the Hydra
2/1/2007 - Review by: Etiam
Teeth of the Hydra - Greenland - 2006 - Tee Pee Records
But enough namedropping. While Teeth of the Hydra do share much with all those acts mentioned above, they are certainly not a carbon copy of any, nor a featureless mish-mash of them all. Though still of a prototype quality, ‘Greenland’ presents an often engaging mixture of hypnotic lead melodies and cocky riffs so intrinsic to sludge music.
However, Teeth of the Hydra also exhibit some of the genre’s weaker tendencies that are also apparent in a number of their peers mentioned above. The most problematic of these is the tendency of a song to fall back in on itself, failing to expand upon the initial foundation. Instead, selected motifs are extended to the point of exhaustion, beyond even sludge’s forgiving boundaries. Not all the songs do—some are in fact quite dynamic—but it occurs enough to disrupt ‘Greenland’s momentum from time to time.
The other main concern is the vocals. For the most part, they are protracted and gruff—part yell, part moan (this is their feature most similar to Mastodon), and while in many situations it works perfectly well, the almost narrative quality to them can become overly monotonous. This would not be a detriment were the music itself more predictable and even, but with so much opportunity at hand for a more vibrant, lively delivery, the negative space can be rather glaring at times.
‘Greenland’, in the end, still does its namesake justice. It is a sprawling, uncompromising, and yet still seductive experience with a perspective that reaches beyond the constraints of its literal duration. And, as a precaution, it is also like its namesake in that those unprepared for its stark character might miss the appeal altogether. Snow-blinded, to continue the metaphor of the title. Properly navigated, though, it is like a breath of that ice-cold northern air: sharp and incisive.
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