Monday 28 March 2022

Dark Ambient Review: The Baring Teeth

Dark Ambient Review: The Baring Teeth

Review By Casey Douglass

The Baring Teeth Cover

As much as we might want to believe that we’ve moved on, the sheer primal force of evolution still shapes how our bodies and minds work. What’s decades worth of computer-based technological advancement when compared to the hundreds of thousands of years of trying to survive; to not get killed or eaten? Humans can be amazingly compassionate and lovely, but we are all capable of killing when pushed. The Baring Teeth is the second album from dark ambient project Dev-I-Ant, and it gives voice to this darker aspect of life and of human nature.

The Baring Teeth gives form to the bestial side of our nature by way of the wolf. From the album artwork and title, to the wolf howls and snarls of the intro track, there is a truly dog-eat-dog atmosphere, whether in the literal form of a wolf, or in the manifestation of its survival-based malice. This isn’t the Wall Street variety of wolf, but one that can’t be bought, bribed or tamed. A force of nature. Whatever you imagine is happening in the dark tracks contained on this album, they all flow with this general feeling.

The Cellar is one of my favourite tracks. It opens with a distant whistling, the sound of gurgling water and the scraping slamming of a metal door. The soundscape then implodes into a bassy, booming, oppressive space, with a distant drone nesting amongst the sweeping rumblings. A raspy breath can be heard amongst the drips. A clinking of what might be chains. Later, we hear the sounds of panicked exertion and of something being bashed. Then the cries of futility begin. Whether the listener feels that they are the captured person, their safely-watching companion, or even the person that did the capturing, this track presents a dense and heady horror scene.

Another track that stood out for me was Hanging. It begins with vibrating, rattling strings that seem to roam from ear to ear. They sit in a bassy soundscape that buzzes, throbs and at times, seems to boil with a fetid gusting wind. Then the voice-over begins. “Turn around, look away, today is the day I sway.” The low-end of the scene intensifies and flares. “Under the moonlight, under the oak tree, today I will be free.” New tones appear or become more noticeable, muted clankings and distant, pulsing higher tones, that seem to turn into chiming notes as things progress. Obviously, the theme of someone about to hang themselves is strong in this track, and it presents a bleak plateau for life to meet death, or for suffering to meet peace.

Hollow is also a track that I’d like to mention. It starts with a blaring, distorting swell of tone, one that crackles and undulates amongst the squeals of whistles in the distance. Then it blares again, a rolling pressure that led me to think of a vast concrete tunnel system, one pulsing with a kind of ghostly threat. The tones are almost painful at times, which leads the soundscape, for me at least, to feel vibrant and dangerous. I guess you could say that it takes on the guise of a lorry barrelling towards you when you are crossing the street. Hard to ignore. There are rasping whispers and floating tones as you approach the midpoint of the track, and things start to feel as if they are in a metallic pot, simmering away to create a strange horrific drink.

The final track, excluding the outro, is The Baring Teeth. This one also felt tunnel like to me, but less nebulous in what might be happening. It begins with a plastic-comb-like scraping and echoing, with a drone and a rising shimmer soon taking over. There is a windy feel at times, and after a short time, the sounds of activity, of people talking and yelling, and of clattering impacts. Whereas the tunnel of Hollow felt like a more haunted place, the tunnel of The Baring Teeth felt like something was on the hunt, watching its prey from the shadows. This is later seemingly backed up by the voice-over that says: “Above I watch, the wolves, the trees, the deer.”

I enjoyed The Baring Teeth on a number of levels. Firstly, I enjoy anything wolf-like. I also enjoy anything horror-based. On a dark ambient level, it’s full of those brooding, evil and raw soundscapes that I enjoy, with dark field-recordings, snippets of narrative and ominous booming spaces. On a wider level, it’s also the kind of album that a non-dark ambient/horror fan would probably look at in bafflement; wondering why someone would want to listen to such a thing! If you like your dark ambient to tick all of these boxes, you’d do well to check out The Baring Teeth!

Visit The Baring Teeth page on Bandcamp for more information.

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: The Baring Teeth

Album Artist: Dev-I-Ant

Label: Raubbau

Released: 8 Feb 2022