It was recently revealed that Cameron Joplin (Magnitude, Ecostrike), Scott Crouse (Earth Crisis, Sect, Path of Resistance), James Chang (Undying, Catharsis, Sect), and Daniel Austin (Die Young) formed the new band Tooth and Claw during quarantine, and today they've debuted their first song, "Kiss of Night." As you'd probably expect from this lineup, it's metallic hardcore, but it doesn't sound like a rehash of any of the members' other bands. Scott Crouse and Daniel Austin spoke to Decibel about their mentality when it came to writing this material:

Crouse: I don’t like to think of Earth Crisis and Sect as being boxed in by their genres, but I suppose they are to an extent, and I certainly follow some “rules” when writing for them. This is basically stuff I write that is more geared toward a selfish expression than written with 4 other people’s opinions in mind. I think people familiar with Earth Crisis and Sect will hear things in here that certainly could have worked for those bands, but as a whole it has it’s own vibe I hope.

Austin: Scott and I discussed from the start how we wanted this band’s work to be interpreted, especially compared to the bands we are better known for playing in. Were we going to a mission/message-oriented band like our other bands? Or were we simply going to explore other kinds of terrain? We were both leaning naturally in the direction of wanting to make something more “primal” that went below, above, and beyond any kind of political or message-oriented themes. After all, we’ve done all that before — for decades — so we didn’t want to be redundant or try to make this band the new version of Earth Crisis or Die Young. We want those bands to remain what they are forever, because they are so important to us as they are. Tooth and Claw is something else, even if you can recognize familiar touches of those bands in the riffs or vocals of Tooth and Claw.

For me personally, I don’t think I’ve written lyrics in a band that wasn’t involved in some kind of “call to action” type approach. I mean, that’s usually what hardcore and punk are, but Scott and I agreed this band would be more metal, so in a sense Tooth and Claw is meant to be more illustrative than instructional. More portrayal, less call to action. More personal interpretation, less dictation in a “movement” sort of sense.

And about this new song in particular, Daniel Austin said:

Lyrically, “Kiss of Night” is about rites of initiation, particularly for young men, but not necessarily just for young men. I just know the audience for aggressive music is overwhelmingly male, and I’m a male, so I figure I don’t have the knowledge or reach to speak of the female experience regarding these things. The masculine or feminine dynamic isn’t as important as the process of individuation that I’m singing about in this one–going through the dark, painful, and difficult experiences that bring you into adulthood, as a self-sufficient, self-sustaining individual. It’s a lot like Batman being forced to go into the cave and face his greatest fears, or very much like how in many indigenous tribes, adolescent boys would be taken from their beds at night and cast out into the wilderness by the village elders. The boy would have to learn to fend for himself in the wild, and if he survived to make it back to the village, he was no longer allowed to live among the children and women as before. From then on he had to assume roles of defense and food gathering for the tribe. There was no going back to the comfort known as a child.

From a modern perspective, this sounds cruel and unjust to do to a child, but given how many people we all know who waste their lives playing video games, riddled by social, economic, and sexual anxiety (and the way everyone’s anxieties seem to be mounting and compounding), I figured romanticizing a return to a more brutish, self-sufficient nature, especially for young men, might be a welcomed discussion these days. The older I get, the more I think there was at least some wisdom in the perceived cruelty and harshness of older men. Personally, I have had these kinds of epiphanies with my own father, and drawing from his experience has helped me get through some recent dark patches in my own life. “Kiss of Night” is about going through the darkness to emerge as a better, more complete self.

Listen to the new song:


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