Braving the frozen tundra, fighting to survive treacherous arctic conditions, the Viking settlement of Greenland was no picnic, and new arrivals' unwillingness to seek assistance from the Inuit on the ice fishing techniques didn't help the food situation. What in the hell am I talking about? Ask guitarist and doom master Matt Miner of Columbus, Ohio's TEETH OF THE HYDRA; he can better explain the loose concept of "Greenland" and the earth moving stoner/doom metal (or "1970s black metal," as he describes it) heaviness that he creates with bassist Matt Bailey and drummer Jamie Stillman. Those who don't give a rat's ass about lyrics, concepts, and other brainy stuff just need to know that "Greenland" is one big burly rock beast. It is eight songs and 51 minutes of down-tuned skull-crush that recalls bands like HIGH ON FIRE and the MELVINS with roots that reach back to BLACK SABBATH and CELTIC FROST. You might as well toss in a little VENOM for those moments when the edge to Miner's voice reminds of Cronos.
Musically, TEETH OF THE HYDRA define "power trio." The members move in unison, supporting one another so that the engine continues to run hot no matter what is happening at any given moment. The most important part is the riff heft created by Miner; it is nothing fancy, just massive in its delivery. Bailey and Stillman keep the rhythm churn fat and rumbling, easily forceful enough to level a small, residential neighborhood.
The album kicks off in fine form with "Sawing Through the Ice". A doomy stomp opens the song and eventually turns into a quick gallop. "Our Strange Man" follows suit, and the smoke continues to billow during the blues-based and smoldering 11-minute bulldozer that is "The Garden of Rotten Teeth". More doom scrape is heard on the eight-minute "Nine Heads", while "Voices Over Conus" teases with some acoustic guitar that is soon overtaken by a HIGH ON FIRE riff avalanche. A creepy guitar line drives "Eruptin'" before it switches gears with locomotive propulsion. A break of sorts arrives with six minutes of psychedelic, fuzzed out drone on "Narsaq". The album wrap-up "Purgatorium" fuses both ends — rip-snortin' slams and dirty plods — of the album spectrum. Are you surprised that Sanford Parker (PELICAN, UNEARTHLY TRANCE, LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR, etc.) gets production credit?
Those fortunate enough to have picked up debut album "We are the Fantasy" will not be surprised to find out that TEETH OF THE HYDRA has created another weighty slab of metal goodness in "Greenland". I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking that "Greenland" raises the bar for stoner/doom metal, but I'll be goddamned if the disc isn't one heavy son of a bitch.