In what’s been another exceptionally strong year for hardcore, Cutting Teeth seem to have a lot stacked against them when it comes to making their breakthrough so late in the game. Having a name that so closely invokes their beloved hardcore brethren Broken Teeth is one thing, but when it feels like every possible nook of the genre has been filled with greatness this year, looking to make an impact with this EP definitely feels like a hard task to get right. Still, the clout they’ve earned in their short existence is pretty significant in support slots with fellow rising stars like Loathe and Lotus Eater, and the track record of new hardcore bands leaving proverbial craters in their wake with early releases has been consistent enough that Cutting Teeth are still worth getting excited about.

That’s something that definitely comes to fruition with Fracture / Decompose as well, but perhaps more than most, Cutting Teeth feel as though, with a bit more time and seasoning, they could turn into a truly special force within UK hardcore. Even if they aren’t exactly there yet, they’re verging on it at a rate of knots, delivering a strand of hardcore that has viciousness and discordance in a way that’s so frequently sought after in this genre, but tempered with enough melody and the potential to let that really explode that makes it all so exciting. It’s honestly reminiscent of Architects in ambition more than sound; the desire and drive to break out of some restrictive boundaries is made plain, but the tether that keeps them inside said boundaries feels utilised for much better results. Of course, that’s not to say that Cutting Teeth are as good as Architects, but an EP like this shows how that might well just come over time.

And yes, that is because there’s still a bit of naivety within Cutting Teeth’s sound that shows how they haven’t quite settled upon what they want to be just yet. It’s easy to look at how well they do both the blistering, technical side that borders on mathcore with Blistered and Misanthropy, and the more expansive fare reminiscent of bands like While She Sleeps on Diathesis and Ghost Blood, but they’re yet to find a way to connect the two to make one congruent sound. Then again, that just circles back to how the inherent aggression and bleakness within Cutting Teeth is, in itself, the most tangible driving force that all of this material rests upon. James Thurlby has a phenomenal scream that really captures the cutting darkness and immolation present in the writing, while Adam Jones’ guitar tone has no corners cut when it comes to how vicious and destructively heavy this is. Especially on a track like Diathesis where the temptation to tone back some of that heft to bring the size and melody forward has been so tempting for so many others in the past, Cutting Teeth do a really great job of avoiding that, and it makes for just one example of a track that doesn’t feel compromised among an entire EP that’s doing its own thing entirely. The touchstones are noticeable, particularly when the likes of Every Time I Die or The Dillinger Escape Plan are factored in, but it’s not derivative and the similarities aren’t overstated. There’s genuine creative drive here, and the fact that Cutting Teeth make that as clear as they do suggests a lot coming for them in the future.

As such, that leaves them as yet another burgeoning hardcore band to add to the list of similar prospects, but there’s definitely more of a reason to pay closer attention here. Beyond a slight sonic disconnect that really isn’t that big of an issue, Fracture / Decompose feels a lot more fully-formed and ready to go than a lot of the band’s contemporaries, with plenty here already to stand Cutting Teeth in good stead of making some serious waves going into the new year. With some of the kinks ironed out, this could be a band capable of real greatness, and the fact that glimpses of that are already poking through really does make their future feel all the more tantalising.

7/10

For fans of: Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats, The Dillinger Escape Plan
Words by Luke Nuttall

‘Fracture / Decompose’ by Cutting Teeth is out now.

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