There must be something in Baltimore's waters, because hardcore band Sharptooth are back, bigger and badder than ever before. The quintet introduced themselves in 2017 with their fierce debut album Clever Girl, a piece of work that may or may not have been titled in honour of a certain reptile. A solid piece of work, but riddled with a few beginner's flaws. However, for their newest work -Transitional Forms - they spared no expense. Hold onto your butts, this is going to be a wild ride.
The first exposure we get to this sophomore record is the lead single "Say Nothing (In The Absence Of Content)", which is a big riff-filled track criticising their corner of the music scene for it's lack of meaning. It's a showcase of the explosive nature of the band, taking no prisoners in the process. Sharptooth already established themselves with their very outspoken feminist and politically charged lyrics, but they also leave plenty of space to speak up about more personal issues. A prime example of this is 'Mean Brain', an almost nu-metalesque song highlighting the harsh reality of depression and crippling mental health issues.
In tracks like 'The Gray' and 'Nevertheless (She Persisted)', the band tries to crash through the barriers of what it means to be hardcore. The more melodic songwriting approach works out quite well, especially in the latter song. These tunes show that the brutal band is capable of some nuance now and then. Vocalist Lauren Kashan's powerful voice throughout the whole record surely demands your attention without missing a beat.
In the song "Evolution", they're aided by none other than Anti-Flag's Justin Sane. However, due to Sharptooth's already incredible performance, one might argue the song would be better off without his presence. Just because they could have him on the track, doesn't mean they should. In contrast - a solid highlight on this album is the track "153". An absolute madness, as if the whole band drank a couple gallons of thick riff juice. It's groovy, it's intense, and the immensely heavy outro tops it all off. If you forgot what chaotic hardcore was like... it's back.
With Clever Girl, Sharptooth introduced themselves to the world. With Transitional Forms, Sharptooth will establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with. The often direct and blunt lyrics might scare a handful of people off, but if you're looking for something brutal to lose your mind to, look no further. Sharptooth did it. Those crazy sons of bitches, they did it.