And while we’re at it, a bit of a sidebar here to discuss the art: The cover for Nexus of Teeth is horrible. Absolutely horrible. Which is a massive shame, since their EP, Abhorrence Veil (which I listed as my No. 1 EP of 2017), had terrific cover art. Artwork, much like the art of composition, is a practice in restraint. It’s often the things that are left out—that are left to our own imagination—that are scarier than those we are shown. The heavy handedness of Paolo Girardi (often one of the best in the game) fails to complement the compositional restraint and touch of Hyperdontia’s music. Obviously it’s not that much of a knock on the album, just remember to turn the record sleeve inside out before filing it away under “H” for “Hyperdontia.”
Anyways, back to the horrifying nature of Hyperdontia. The filth and putrescence of Hyperdontia’s music is enough to leave a stench deep in your molars. Without waiting for you get settled in your seat or even buckle your safety belt, Hyperdontia kicks you square in the mouth as slap-happy tom rolls herald the coming of death. “Purging Through Flesh” is essentially a billboard for how Nexus of Teeth plans on assaulting you. Guitars scrape out riffs like rocks on a washboard, while guttural vocals squeak up through the muddy waters. A tightly-tuned snare is rattled by loose, beaded wires, and dull toms are smacked like a sack of rice hitting the still surface of a pond.
“Now they won’t stop until everyone is dead…”
Offering a slower, more crushing take on their brand of death metal is “Majesty,” an apt title for its initial pacing. While the song eventually spirals off into a quick-paced two-step trouncing, it’s the opening clip (which will make another appearance towards the close of the track) that provides balance—something death metal albums have been bereft of lately. Often, in the thrill of proving how fast one can play, often confused with showing maximum talent, bands forget that balance creates tension and tension creates anxiety, which is a fundamental component of aggressive music.
The windy kingdom of Denmark (average wind speed of 13 miles per hour) is currently producing some of the highest-quality death metal on the planet. Is it because Denmark averages 171 days with more than .004 inches of precipitation? It certainly can’t be, because Denmark has been widely reported to be the happiest country in the world. Why would happy people make death metal? Of all art forms, the darker metal should theoretically be developing in unhappy places like Burundi, no? Could it be the inclusion of three alphabetic characters not found in the English language, Æ, Ø, Å? Maybe it’s because they are sad that America purchased the Virgin Islands from them in 1917 and they can no longer visit without a passport. Maybe it’s because Greenland, the world’s largest island and part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is so sparsely populated.
The point is, we might never know what transpired in Denmark to create such a vibrant subculture of putrid death metal. We can’t just attribute it to King Diamond or Denmark’s recent World Cup success. What we can do is accept it, love it, cherish it, nurture it and foster it as it becomes perhaps the most important death metal scene on the planet.