If AC/DC turned into a punk-minded alternative metal band and incorporated some rapping, it might sound something like Straight Faced, whose Pulling Teeth successfully fuses metal's blistering heaviness with punk's nervous energy, anger, and angst. Of course, combining punk and metal was hardly unprecedented in late 2000, which is when this CD came out -- the innovative Motorhead was showing us how compatible the two could be back in the late '70s and early '80s. But not many punk-minded alternative metal outfits have a lead vocalist who sounds a lot like AC/DC's Brian Johnson; Straight Faced has such a singer in Johnny Miller, and his hoarse, throaty, Johnson-like approach does a lot to make Pulling Teeth as colorful as it is. Not that Miller has AC/DC-ish riffs to work with -- while AC/DC is known for its slow, bluesy grooves, Straight Faced guitarist David Tonic gets a lot of his inspiration from the hyper, nervous, caffeinated guitarists of hardcore punk and thrash. And Johnson wouldn't do as much rapping as Miller (who is primarily a singer) does on this release; at times, he almost makes Pulling Teeth sound like a combination of AC/DC and Rage Against the Machine. But no one would mistake Pulling Teeth for AC/DC's Back in Black. However much Miller might remind you of Johnson, Pulling Teeth is very much a product of the alternative metal scene of 2000 -- and it's an exciting one at that.
|Label:||Epitaph / Ada|