Pulling Teeth – Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions

They say that paradise is whatever a person perceives it to be. Some of us are taught that paradise is what awaits us beyond this life. Others look for paradise in their everyday lives, filling themselves with pleasures that only money can buy. What if paradise is nothing more than a ghost story; a fairy tale that we all blindly follow? This thought comes to mind when listening to Pulling Teeth’s magnificent third studio album, Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions.

Pulling Teeth has evolved drastically over the course of their brief career, starting out as a hardcore band with some metal influences, and honing in their music to include slower, sludge/doom metal-inspired elements. Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions is the end result of years of fine-tuning their sound. While only consisting of five tracks, and clocking in at a slim 23 minutes, Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions is the album that should make Pulling Teeth one of the top metal bands in the underground scene today.

A dreary and depressing journey into the murky waters of resentment, paranoia, and out-right disdain, Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions will leave the listener with a hollow and empty feeling. This is not a “happy” album; there is no sunlight peeking through the stormy clouds and no hope on the horizon. The lyrics deal with everything from the lack of satisfaction with the government to questioning not only the very essence of life, but the meaning of existence. These are deep subjects, ones that demand having the lyrics handy in order to interpret the album.

Pulling Teeth mixes fast blasts of hardcore/thrash with carefully-paced melodies that evoke memories of Black Sabbath and Corrosion of Conformity. The band is able to work these together in several tracks, including opener “Ritual” and “Bloodwolves.” While most of the songs are near the three-minute mark, Pulling Teeth packs a lot of content into a short period of time. The songs flow effortlessly, with the band having no problem at making concise, non-linear song structures.

Pulling Teeth outdoes themselves on the title track, a two-part, 13 minute epic, no doubt the band’s magnum opus. Every trick in the playbook is brought out, from the moody, clean guitar work to the random samples of screaming and shouting in foreign tongues. With an explosive ending, complete with soaring lead work, heavy distortion and a spoken-word rant that ends with the ominous, “never forget that we’re destined to rot, don’t be the spark that time forgot,” the title cut is the sound of a confident and composed band ready to take over the world.

Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions is over way too quickly, teasing the listener with a small taste of greatness. If this album was a tiny bit longer, it would easily have scored a higher rating. The fact that this is the only downfall of Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions speaks volumes for the progression Pulling Teeth has made as a band in such a short time. The band spent three months working on this material, and it shows. Everything is fine-tuned and perfectly fits into place. Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions is the most pleasant surprise of the year so far, an album that will no doubt fly under the radar of the majority of metal fans and critics. Find some way to pick this up, as Pulling Teeth is the next big thing waiting to happen, and Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions is exhibit A.

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Rating: 8.5/10
Label: Deathwish
Web Site: http://www.myspace.com/pullingteeth

By Dan Marsicano

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