At bleeding’ last, Raime commit their 2nd album to Blackest Ever Black, and it’s every year worth the wait.
Tooth is the result of a fastidious refinement process, chipping away any extraneous elements in order to drill right down to a personalised, uncompromising truth: respectfully consolidating a hive of reference points - the finest filaments of grime, jungle, gothic film soundtracks, and rocking industrial sci-fi - but always with a deeply unique style and pattern.
Hewn from a trad set-up of hacking guitar, samples, and heavily processed drums (from source by Valetina Magaletti, who also played on Quarter Turns…), all helmed by asphyxiating bass pressure, the results were subsequently rinsed in post-production to an inch of their lives. The result is a future-proofed and achingly taut sound; one that acknowledges any flaws in their previous efforts and ascetically twists the screws to a water-tight, rasping, tongue-in-groove finish.
Its eight unyielding tracks render filigree variations on that central theme, each focussed on a subtle yet keenly twisted sleight of syncopation from the opening Om-meets-Mala meditation of Coax to the rictus chatter and gasping stabs of Stammer at the final run out.
The effect is wickedly jarring yet hypnotic, sustaining a vicious, duelling tension between fight or flight between those points; lulling us in with Sun City Girls-like mantra and Jah Shaka-style sub massage in Dead Heat’s arabesque whorl, before ratcheting the tension with a slow, tendon-twitching panic like Albini-meets-Source Direct in Hold Your Line, to lend a sense of temporary resolution with the glinting pads of Front Running.
With Glassed they plumb the sweetspot between Rhythm & Sound, Senking and earliest Swans, but to be honest it all feels like it was leading up to the denouement of Cold Cain, arguably their master opus, parsing the gothic shiver of The Cure ('81 vintage) thru the gullet of ‘05 grime, buoyed off by thee sickest subs to effectively bury this sound beyond the reaches any comers.
We can nary think of another contemporary band whose impact is so directly disproportionate to their empirical output as these arch, vantablack neeks: a lesson that could well be learnt by so many others.
Tooth is a unit; a measure of beauty; an irregularity.