Release Date: 10th July 2020
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
For Fans Of: Stray From The Path, Every Time I Die, Counterparts
Has the sub-genre ‘dino-core’ been created yet? If not, then this reviewer is patenting the name, and feels that Sharptooth fits that bill. With their previous album – Clever Girl – being a Jurassic Park quote, and the band name itself quite possibly being a reference to the brilliant children’s film series The Land Before Time, one can only hope this is the next big sub-genre.
But don’t be fooled, Sharptooth are more than just a band who display solid pop culture references. Referring to themselves as a hardcore band who ‘focus the brutality through a femme lens’, the Baltimore five-piece tackle such issues as gender inequality, sexual abuse, feminism and politics, all delivered via the ferocious harsh vocals of Lauren Kashan.
The band’s second studio album, Transitional Forms, continues such a trend of lyrical content as established on their debut. Opening track and single ‘Say Nothing (In The Absence Of Content)’ shines the spotlight on those who waste their platform and voice by not addressing matters of importance and perform lyrics that are ultimately considered vapid (the music video features the band parodying videos of several pop artists who are guilty of such). ‘This is a song about nothing, oh no not a single thing’ the track begins, before building to a breakdown led by the lines ‘mosh call, generic mosh-call, it must be nice to say nothing at all’. Even as a parody, the song itself serves as a brilliant hardcore track.
‘Mean Brain’ deals with mental health issues, ‘mean brain’ being a term used to describe the state in which one is self-deprecating and cannot see the positives in one’s self. The instrumentation of the track demonstrates a nu-metal influence that has become a trend as of late, with bands such as Stray From The Path and Vein recalling that late 90’s sound, and is typical of the rest of the album. While Sharptooth stick to their hardcore roots more so than the aforementioned bands, a little outside influence helps mix up the groove of the album, and provides a nice counterpart to the circle pit riffs .
As a whole, this is an incredibly well structured album. The heavy parts are crushing, the more mellow moments (see ‘Life On The Razor’s Edge’) still keep the listener engaged, and there’s plenty of mosh-worthy riffs scattered across the half an hour runtime. The songwriting displays a substantial step up from their debut, and Lauren’s harsh vocals range from guttural lows to piercing shrieks (the outro to ‘Mean Brain’ demonstrating both brilliantly). However, the clean vocals/spoken word elements of the record come across as weaker than the harsh vocals. While it is understandable and welcome to feature cleans to contrast the heavier passages, the strength of the harsh vocals on the album lead the cleans to appear as disappointing, and though they do not feature heavily on the record, it is an area that could do with improvement (or maybe even omission?).
Besides the minor vocal criticism, Transitional Forms is an incredibly strong sophomore effort from Sharptooth, drawing parallels to hardcore veterans such as Every Time I Die on tracks ‘Evolution’ and ‘153’, while still retaining their own brand of noise. Being released through Pure Noise Records (who have brought us the likes of Knocked Loose and SeeYouSpaceCowboy), one would hope this yields an increase in the band’s U.K fan base. This reviewer for one cannot wait to scream ‘mosh-call, generic mosh-call’ from the pit.
Recommended Tracks: 153, Mean Brain, Say Nothing (In The Absence Of Content)
Social Media Links: