Monday 1 May 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Gurt - "Skullossus"

By: Andre Almaraz

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 01/05/2017
Label: When Planets Collide

This is some quality music that draws from many influences and I feel any metal fan should be able to enjoy it…. possibly even as the soundtrack to their next doom party.

“Skullossus” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Welcome to the Shit Show
2. Gimme the Night, any Day
3. Battlepants
4. Double Barreled Shot-pun
5. The Crotch Wobbler
6. Existance is Pain
7. Broken Heart Heroin Man
8. Meowing at the Fridge
9. John Gar See Ya Later
10. The Balled of Tom Stones and Reg Montagne (Part 1)
11. The Balled of Tom Stones and Reg Montagne (Part 2)

The Review:

Gurt is a four piece metal band from London, UK. Their new full length album is called “Skullossus” and it is set to be released on May 1st, 2017. Gurt is a self proclaimed “party doom” band but based on this album alone (it is all I know of the band), I would have to somewhat disagree with that categorization. While it is true that everyone loves a good party and that this album gives off an air of playfulness and sleaze with its song titles, sound, and lyrics, to my ears, there seems to be only slight traces of doom to be found within this volume of their music. Instead, the sounds I hear on it are more like a mix of Black Breath, Pungent Stench, and Clutch; bands that are not very doomy but bands that most metal heads hold in high regard nonetheless. Subgenre classifications be damned - let’s get down to business…. 

The album opens with a short intro track called “Welcome to the Shit Show,” which consists of a cryptic spoken word message that warns of the end of the human race as we know it over what seems to be some type of warping carnival organ notes setting the stage for what is to follow. Shortly thereafter, the recording kicks off the embarkment with a boot stomper called “Gimme the Night, any Day.” This tune initiates their heavy buzzsaw sound and begins with a sludgy pounding groove before a middle section breakdown gives way to a storm of phasers that eventually leads us to a flurry of tortured screams and grim chords which sound like they could have been pulled right from a classic Swedish death metal album. This is a great, no nonsense opener to get the album rolling off to a good start. 

Third track, “Battlepants,” is a rock solid death march loaded with nothing but slam, stomp, and pound, that will pulverize your speakers in a militarized procession for the entire duration of the song. Some eerie and haunting background vocals in the post-chorus part are a very nice touch and give the song that little extra something to show us that Gurt is not just another one-dimensional, ugly face. Fourth song, “Double Barreled Shot-pun,” is another stone-faced groover of classic rock and roll revolutionary riffs. This one, however, has a bit more of a bouncy 80s crossover feel. Being a child of the 80s myself, the song quickly got my blood pumping and my feet tapping with its permeating rhythm. The fifth track, “The Crotch Wobbler,” has a sexy and seductive saunter to it. It is chock full of big stoner rock riffs and I can definitely hear this one being played at numerous strip clubs in the Southern and Midwestern United States as some freckled farmer’s daughter butters your corn cob amidst a back drop of soiled Confederate flags.

Sixth track, “Existence is Pain,” is a playful little instrumental number, almost Primus-like in its funk and silliness. It also comes complete with a cameo appearance by none other than MTV stars, Beavis and Butt-Head to end the song. The track may seem a bit out of place, stuck in the middle of all these heavy ragers but fuck it - this is art and the artist is free to express themselves any way they choose. I salute the band for flying their freak flag high and letting everyone know that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Honestly, to me it’s a breath of fresh air in today’s modern metal climate, especially for a band this heavy. Rolling right along to the seventh track; “Broken Heart Heroin Man,” is a raging, straightforward punk blast that will blow your hat off as it stays in high gear energy for the entire eighty-three seconds of its duration. “Meowing at the Fridge” is a thick and chunky, slow to mid-tempo chugger. The vocalist really gets guttural on this one as he croaks, bellows, and screams his way through almost the entire four minutes of the song.  “John Gar See Ya Later” is another straightforward riff rocker with an extremely catchy chorus which I found myself inadvertently humming after the first listen. Its dominating chorus coupled with a funky and psychedelic middle section featuring some tasteful soloing by both guitar and saxophone making this one a unique and interesting stand out track of the album for me. Tenth track, “The Balled of Tom Stones and Reg Montagne (Pt. 1),” is where we finally get the doom side out of Gurt; death-doom to be more exact. The song is suffocatingly heavy with moroseness, and serves as another nod to classic Swedish death metal.

The closing track, “The Balled of Tom Stones and Reg Montagne (Pt. 2),” consists of little more than some faint gypsy music set to a background of howling winds and is an interesting way to bring the album to a close. It is the final brick in the shit house and brings to light yet another side of the band’s many faces. Although the heart and soul of “Skullossus” proves to be straightforward, lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek, rocking songs, the band also has many other distinctive sounds and quite a bit of depth when they feel like showing it off to us. Many fragmented bits and pieces of death metal, doom, punk, sludge, thrash, stoner, and funk also make their way into the album’s well rounded repertoire. I really enjoyed “Skullossus” and although many others may already be familiar with Gurt as they’ve apparently been touring and releasing material for the past seven years, I was not previously familiar with the band and I’m glad I was given the chance to review their newest offering and become enlightened. This is some quality music that draws from many influences and I feel any metal fan should be able to enjoy it…. possibly even as the soundtrack to their next doom party.

Skullossus” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook