Gnosis Review: Hunger's Teeth

This album wasn't produced until 1994, making an eight-year gap since Elements. The band had, in the mean time, participated in the avant supergroup U Totem which was formed out of members of 5UU's and Motor Totemist's Guild.

One positive change made in the time off is the bringing in of Bob Drake as the new lead vocalist. While his voice can superficially be compared to Jon Anderson of Yes, he does a better job of conveying the creepier aspects of songs like Roan and Well... Not Chickenshit. Susanne Lewis (Thinking Plague, Hail) also contributes some vocals to this release. Another helpful addition to the sound is that of guesting electronics fiend and musique-concrète beast Thomas DiMuzio. DiMuzio contributes various effects throughout, but most valuable is his mind-bending Mangate, a minimalist journey through tape effects. Rounding out the line-up are Kerman and Kumar, giving their most powerful performances to date.

Compared to earlier efforts, everything takes a large step forward here. The melodies, the production, the lyrics, the vocals, the variety of sounds used and how effectively they are used, the tightness of the compositions... honestly, everything. Some might find this a bit over-produced compared to the earlier material, but I personally don't find it overly glossy. This is one of the most accessible avant-progressive albums I've ever encountered, without sacrificing any of the goods. Material ranges from pure experimentation to ironic song-oriented material to twisted barbershop quartet and more.

I would love to say more, but the fact that it is one of my favorite recordings takes away much of my willingness to dissect it. All I will say is that repeated listenings really will reap a pleasant harvest; I am still finding little hidden goodies in the impossibly dense arrangements. If there is such a thing as magic, it is surely present here. —Sean McFee