Tooth And Nail
Gilla Bruja’s Tooth And Nail is as pig thick as Godflesh, the only band who could revel in such a grindcrushing legacy. It’s a good record. But the first few songs, shit, it was a white-hot record. Like taking all the hopes you had for Fear Factory, Pitch Shifter, Leech Women and Optimum Wound Profile before you actually heard them, and combining them into a perfect diamond-hard sphere. Then, of course, that sphere would turn on you and murder you, Phantasm-style…
Tooth And Nail is eleven quick bodyblows. “Barrellroll” is a short roar of metal-plated hate, with swaggering, clipped guitars. “Whipped” is a cannibalistic cyborg, the precision mechanistics grind and click inexorably forward, barely restraining the killing machine trapped within the circuits. Vocals seethe and strain. Goddamn.
“Sprawl” sputters into life with samples of what sounds like a dying old woman, layered with Prong-esque sinister bass that fades in and out of crashing waves of distorted guitars and screaming. Then everything turns all Murder Inc. chaotic (the industrial band, not the rap label). The vocals sound ravaged and throaty like Wattie from the Exploited, or maybe the moments when J.K. Broadrick lost his shit and roared like a wounded, wronged animal. “Dogboy” builds up lockstep percussion from a sample of a gun being loaded, over which Brujeria-sounding threats, sampled screams, and a punishingly simple guitar riff wreak havoc. Keeping the prisoners in line during a death march.
There’s a seductive and insinuating beat at the core of “Norhymenorreason,” and Gilla Bruja take a great deal of glee in burying it in factory noise and pained exhortations to indeterminate actions. “Kerbiter” raises some warning flags for me, with a sorta Slipknot feel — noooo, stay away, I like this band. “Hellonme” false starts and careens about like a dying droid, before the rust of a corrosive riff focuses everything down again. I like this one, the random elements of found noise and Steve Buscemi samples threaten to split the song structure apart at the seams. And so chaos wins.
Can you believe these guys are British? Me neither.