Baring Teeth are a band from Texas, and Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins is their second full-length release. The sound of the band should appeal to fans of the last Ulcerate album. They have a similar enough style that I feel like I’m going to rehash all the same reasons why I love this, but they maintain enough distinctive features that they aren’t just copying.
First off, the album is a bit more experimental and varied than Vermis was. They push the limits of tonality a bit more. Their sound is thinner at parts, but can build up to the same loud, visceral sound as Ulcerate. But let’s end the comparison and get on to review the album on its own terms.
The overall sound that Baring Teeth produce is extremely raw and gritty. The album starts with one of the more challenging songs. It starts with a single repetitive “note” (noisy sound?) with occasional shifts to a short riff, then right back into the repetition. As the song progresses, the intermediate riffs become more frequent until they dominate for a short bit at the end.
The song is interesting in its unusual form and style, but I find it to be my least favorite of the album. It almost turned me away from the album on my first listen. I’m glad I continued. I can’t say that the rest of the album deviates from this style much, but I think the later songs are more successful in their development of the material.
The second song is characteristic of most of the rest. Baring Teeth take small riffs, like the ones that occurred in the first track, and then they weave these short riffs together with variation in the placement in the measure and some embellishments or placed on top of other things.
I like to think of this as the typical type of thing you’d find in the development section of a sonata, but in this case the innovation is that its all development. From the bits and pieces you hear in their various forms you can reproduce the original idea. The songs have some sort of reverse engineering that happens in your head when they start to make sense.
The chords that get used tend to be highly dissonant. It’s hard to describe properly, because the level of dissonance fits what they are doing perfectly. It’s a structured chaos. There’s just enough to create tension and intensity, but not so much that you think it is a bunch of people trying to make something that sounds terrible because they can.
In fact, it never sounds terrible. It usually sounds awesome. Baring Teeth strike a remarkable balance of harsh intensity, yet still flowing as a more traditional song from idea to idea, and they have buried melodic ideas underneath it all.
They even venture into some more down tempo sludgy parts which works well with this type of material. Other parts are highly technical with mind boggling rhythmic ideas behind it. If there is one downside to this album, it might be the amount of distortion. It certainly needs to be heavy to work, but there is some really inventive material that basically gets lost in the noise at times.
Overall, I really like this album so far (only about a week in). I give it an 8.5/10. Here’s a sample: