Industrial rock and metal may not be as prominent in the musical mainstream as they were throughout the 90s and 2000s, but newer groups like 3TEETH have showcased that the genre is alive and well. Their 2014 debut started things off closer to the harsher end of the industrial spectrum, but over time the approach has evolved into something that brought in some of the alternative metal side as well. 2019’s Metawar had melodies and hooks that recalled the likes of Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson and pushed 3TEETH into slightly different territory without losing all the bite. Four years later, the band is back with their fourth full length EndEx and they’ve continued to encapsulate everything within the industrial rock and metal spectrum. There are plenty of abrasive, extremely heavy moments, and more reflective and subdued ones that pull in additional soundscape elements to tie things together. Some of the more streamlined hooks do blur together a bit over repeat listens, but it’s clear that 3TEETH is still at the top of their game and they’ve delivered an effort that will appeal to a wide audience.
Rather than launching right into faster beats and pummeling riffs, EndEx opts for a slow and methodical opener as “Xenogenesis” takes a more The Downward Spiral or The Fragile era Nine Inch Nails approach with brooding bass lines and machinelike percussion that explodes into bursts of harsher guitar after the first few minutes. It’s an effective opening statement that showcases 3TEETH’s emphasis on layered textures and moodier soundscapes that build into much harsher metallic moments. The metal side is taken to its next logical step on “Acme Death Machine” which lets extremely low, distorted riffs chug over top of a heavier foundation, bringing in just as much nu-metal and alternative metal as industrial. On the completely opposite end of the spectrum is “Drift”, which strips back the abrasive layers and lets the melodies take over for an atmosphere that feels like a cross between the Blade Runner 2049 soundtrack, gothic rock, and synthpop. 3TEETH is able to find a good balance between these different sides, sometimes going for more direct beats and riffs that recall Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, aggressive metal riffing, and extended periods of electronic soundscapes. With Mick Gordon contributing to EndEx it’s not surprising that some of the thumping beats and riffs recall his work on Doom and Doom Eternal, but 3TEETH still retains their own identity. There are a lot of strong moments to be found on this album that are sure to appeal to a wide range of listeners across nu-metal and industrial rock and metal, though if you were hoping for a bit more traditional industrial some of the songwriting here might be a bit too streamlined. “Acme Death Machine”,” Merchant of the Void”, “Higher Than Death”, and “Drift” have all been stuck in my head for days, though admittedly songs like “What’s Left” and “ALI3N” are a bit more generic and start to blur together.
Alexis Mincolla has sounded like a combination of some of industrial rock and metal’s more popular vocalists over the years, and that’s once again the case on EndEx. On “Xenogenesis” his moodier whispers give off hints of Trent Reznor, but once he breaks into a distorted scream during the heavier sections he sounds much closer to Al Jourgensen. On the chorus to “Acme Death Machine” Mincolla pulls a Rob Zombie type pitch complete with plenty of reverb, while other moments are a dead ringer for Marilyn Manson. This may make 3TEETH an acquired taste for some, as I know even within industrial circles there are those that just don’t care for Rob Zombie or Marilyn Manson at all. But as someone who grew up with many of those artists during their 90s peaks, the fact that Mincolla can capture so many of these same pitches while also putting his own spin on it is extremely appealing. There is also that same balance of aggressive and melodic approaches to the vocals, which makes for a more dynamic effort.
3TEETH has clearly focused on recapturing some of the rawer aggression of their earlier material with the more streamlined hooks of Metawar and it has paid off. There are still a few tracks that are a bit too straightforward and don’t fully stand out over repeat listens, but the bulk of the material impresses with its combination of extremely heavy, in your face moments and moodier, atmospheric hooks. There aren’t nearly as many artists making music that sounds exactly like this in 2023, so it’s great to hear 3TEETH continuing to lead the charge. EndExis available from Century Media Records.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg