Noisy Welsh muthas Made Of Teeth and beloved label and love child of Andrew Field, APF Records, have for a long time seemed made for each other and so the release of their third album Sociopathogen on the Salford label could be seen as an inevitability. APF have long prided themselves on catering to the lover of underground metal, giving bands a distinct identity, a loving home, and freedom to pursue their own artistic paths.
Made Of Teeth, for those unfamiliar, have been gathering a loyal and rabid following since their inception and subsequent self-released eponymous debut in 2017. Having followed this up with Wealth And Hellbeing on Everyone Loses Records, the third album distils the furious raw sound into what might be their finest moment yet.
Consisting of alumni that count themselves as current and ex-members of both the much missed and highly acclaimed Taint and The Shaman favourites Spider Kitten, as well as Obey Cobra, the band have gathered a following that have been inspired by their captivating and crushing stage appearances that have been forged supporting high-profile acts such as Today Is The Day and EyeHateGod.
Sociopathogen itself consists of eleven slabs of belligerent, attitude drenched punk that borrows heavily from ‘90s alternative noise-rock scene, blending experimental and progressive edges with an aural assault that is hard to be rivalled. Born from the paranoia, claustrophobia and frustration of the pandemic, you can feel the cabin fever permeating through the album as it reflects the climate of the last few years.
Kicking off with the pounding drumbeats of Four courtesy of Steve-O Jones, readying the listener for the buzz sawing guitar of Chris West and the battling guttural vocals that are shared between all members of the trio, there is so much going on with this first track. The cyclical rhythms feel like you are trapped in a washing machine of pure rock fury. The US military is supposed to have used the likes of Metallica to torture and intimidate prisoners during the Gulf War, one listen to Sociopathogen and you could only imagine what terrifying effect blasting this album at full volume would do.
The sound generated by the three-piece is absolutely massive and the gritty bass of Tom Cole is somewhere between early Tool meets indie label Therapy? shooting up a cocktail of punk snot behind the bins at some seedy venue. It is easy to see, given the heavy grooves offsetting the strangled vocal effects then changing to choppy riffs with massive hooks, why they have shared the stage with the likes of the sonic terrorists they have.
an expert balance of modern recording clarity with unapologetic filth…
Difficult to pronounce first single Three4a1er continues this battering fury with a driving hardcore sensibility. The abrasive vocals trade off each other giving texture and flavour as the changing guitar variations prove that beyond the surface, Made Of Teeth are subtly astute and very good at this rock thing, not merely to be written off as extreme noise terror.
It is not all relentless hammering and on the stop-start shift of Strutter Bubble, they continue the 90 miles per hour tempo but throw curveballs, as does Low On Water as it flashes past in a hail of high octane snarls and seismic grooves, before the likes of J.T.W. mixes up the dynamics that brings the pace down to concentrate on making the listeners move.
Small Operation lends credence to this respite by introducing an eery and unsettling strumming guitar pattern that breaks out into a massive stomp. Pick A Pocket delivers an abrasive hardcore edge, whilst the likes of Shotgun Steve and Never Heard Of Them could claim to have touchstones with classic Helmet and Fudge Tunnel, giving the sludge laden alt rock thrills and spills before they can hold themselves back no longer and career off into mad moshing frenzy once more.
The one-two ending of What’s The Time with its breakneck, squalling lead guitar and relentless Discharge punk like grime, and the race to the finish line of closer Pearly Whites, where the band positively hammer their instruments into the ground, bringing the breathless rush of this album to a conclusion in roughly half an hour. In fact, on the press release for Sociopathogen, the band proudly declare ‘when you press play you’ll be peeling your brains off the wall 30 minutes later’ and in all honesty, this is an incredibly accurate summary of this feral beast.
Engineered, produced, mixed and mastered by Gethin Woolcock at Queens Road Studios, the album sounds and feels exactly as it should. There is an expert balance of modern recording clarity with unapologetic filth; this is not muddy or buried in some sort of try hard DIY aesthetic, yet it is awash with a grubby hard edge that wouldn’t have people questioning if the band were ‘4 real’. Featuring stunning artwork John Day, Made Of Teeth’s third album also comes on cassette as well as a standard CD and digital download for those with an affinity for the physical.
If you are looking for a short, sharp adrenaline rush that takes no prisoners and makes no apologies for its two-fingered defiance then you will find that the band and APF Records have delivered once again.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden