Building upon the doom and dread of their solid debut, industrial revivalists 3Teeth return with their sophomore set, shutdown.exe, a thrilling assault that finds them staking their claim as formidable new voices of the genre. Exiting the dark dungeon club where they resided on their self-titled first effort, shutdown.exe expands the band's sonic canvas to full cinematic scope, creating a brutal and unforgiving post-apocalyptic landscape that once again borrows the best of early-era Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, and White Zombie (and, by lineage, forebears like Die Krupps, Front Line Assembly, and Laibach). This release is a gift to fans of classics like Broken, The Downward Spiral, Antichrist Superstar, and SEHNSUCHT. Whereas 3Teeth exploited nostalgia with a competent collection of by-the-numbers songs that sounded like a band of fans emulating their heroes, shutdown.exe finds the Alexis Mincolla-led group distilling those influences just enough to create a refreshing manipulation that witnesses 3Teeth coming into their own latex-clad selves. The gears of the shutdown.exe machine crank to life on "Divine Weapon," a pummeling hellscape that masterfully builds anxiety and unease with patience and atmospheric space. Their newfound confidence sets shutdown.exe above 3Teeth: by allowing these songs to breathe and organically develop, the overall experience is more cohesive and rewarding. There's a trajectory here, taking listeners on a journey over the bombed-out peaks and through the desolate valleys the band has created. Jagged riffs slice and stab on the buzzing "Atrophy" and the feral "Shutdown," while digital dissonance distorts the rhythmic "Oblivion Coil" and "Degrade." The spirits of Depeche Mode creep in on "B.O.A." and "Pit of Fire," which find Mincolla revealing a haunting new vocal trick: actual singing. While every song on shutdown.exe is truly worth a listen, a late-album triplet stuns with variety and a handful of new ideas that allow the band to really spread its wings. The plaintive "Voiceless" throbs with bright synths and disembodied vocal echoes, before the epic "Slavegod" instructs listeners to "Crucify reality!" over an overwhelming wall of crushing strength. "Insubstantia" is unlike anything they've attempted prior to this release, a paranoid trip that stretches shutdown.exe to ambitious lengths. In the three years between releases, 3Teeth upgraded from base model androids into fully formed cybernetic organisms, a formidable evolution that demands attention.
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