Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Saw v. Look at These Teeth


Saxophone has been popping up in a lot of metal albums lately. But I was still surprised to find that there is not one, but at least two grindcore bands which completely replace guitar with saxophone. I decided to compare and contrast the three-song EPs the two bands have released.

I discovered Dead Neanderthals via crustcake. The Dutch instrumental band consists of a baritone saxophonist and "caveman" drummer. Their free EP The Saw is over in less than four minutes, and it's full of spastic songwriting and bizarre saxophone playing that brings to mind the sax parts in Lost Highway. It's safe to say this is a mindfuck. (They also have two full albums and a live album available free on their Bandcamp.)

New York's Heart of Barf contacted me with a review copy of Look at These Teeth. They differ from Dead Neanderthals in that they use a tenor sax instead of baritone, and they include vocals. Their somewhat longer songs are less spastic, with more obvious structure and less bizarre sax work. But weirdness shows through in the nonsensical lyrics (song titles like "I Smell Ninja" should tell you enough), delivered in a fairly typical grindcore style. (They also have two more EPs on their bandcamp, all available for $2 or less.)

The Verdict: Dead Neanderthals have carried their burden, and I find in their favor. While I normally prefer to have music with vocals, their two-instrument approach is so insane that adding anything to it would only have messed it up. I give The Saw 4.5 out of 5 stars. But don't discount Heart of Barf--they're pretty awesome too. I give Look at These Teeth 3.5 out of 5 stars.

If there are any other good grind bands out there with non-traditional instrumentation, let me know.


  1. That first Dead Neanderthals track sounded like a coked-up version of the Cowboy Bebop opening theme. Sweet.

  2. Man, I love that show. That was my all-time favorite show before I saw Firefly. It may be ousted by Adventure Time, though.

  3. I don't know if you've heard this, but it has some great saxophone:


  4. Heart of Barf are fun. "A human leg with a bear's foot. Yes!"

    Omitir are really good. It's a one-man band from Portugal available on The Path Less Travelled Records Bandcamp (added to Metal Bandcamp here)

  5. Heart of Barf, with the sax, remind me of any number of Mike Patton's crazy-ass projects (in a good way)