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Gurt - Skullossus

by Chen May at 02 August 2017, 7:03 AM

GURT are a Sludge/Doom metal band formed in London, UK. The band - comprised of vocalist Gareth Kelly, guitarist Rich Williams, bassist Dave Blakemore and drummer Bill Jacobs - have released their second full-length album “Skullossus”. “Skullossus” is very abrasive and gritty in its sound, brimming with sludge riffs and harsh vocals.

The first track “Welcome To The Shit Show” opens with quotes from the 1981 film “My Dinner with Andre”. At the end of the track, the line “Escape, before it’s too late” can be heard, infusing it with an ominous atmosphere. The action does not start until the second song, “Gimme The Night Any Day”. A heavy bass drop amidst a down-tempo riffage engulfs the intro of the tune, where Gareth’s growls and screams soon come into the picture, before a rapid drum solo joins in the composition. The riffs, however, can be rather overpowering towards the end of the track, and the screeching vocal effects within the bridge can be quite annoying.

“Battlepants” is a rather aggravating track. The high-pitched screams are especially off-putting and I found the repetitive enunciation of the word “battlepants” in the background to be very annoying; even though the subtle choral chanting in the background adds a slightly ethereal effect to the track. “The Crotch Wobbler” is a combination of Metal and Blues; in fact, the riffs in this track are heavily influenced by the Blues. Despite the awful vocals, the riffs here are particularly noteworthy.

Next comes the instrumental “Existence Is Pain”. A stark contrast to the prior aural assault of the aforementioned tracks, “Existence Is Pain” represents a relaxing change of pace and consists of an easy-listening drum line with riffs. Soon after comes “Broken Heart Heroin Man”, which is fast and intense. This track (which clocks in at less than one and a half minutes) is loud and distorted. Gareth’s guttural voice echoes throughout the whole track.

The thunderous “John Gar See Ya Later” has a rather catchy hook to it. The vocals here are highly abrasive and the composition itself is full of surprises. The song slows down to a Blues-inspired guitar solo halfway. There is even a surprising addition of a saxophone solo in it, and distorted growls can be heard in the background too. The entire track slows down its pace (as if to represent the calm before the storm) right before reestablishing its solid foothold and ending with rapid guttural passages and intense bass lines.

“The Ballad of Tom Stones and Reg Montagne” is an interesting piece, for it is split into two parts. I do find it highly ironic that this piece – especially part 1 – is categorized as a ballad, for it is nothing of the sort. Part 1 of this tune is a doomily-paced, sludge-filled composition, while Part 2 of “The Ballad of Tom Stones and Reg Montagne” is made up of a mellow plucking of the guitar. The subtle ‘wind’ sound effects conjure a calming yet desolate atmosphere, propelling one into a depthless void.

I personally did not enjoy GURT’s “Skullossus”. As much as I like the general Doom/Sludge atmosphere, all of this is unfortunately marred by Gareth’s annoying screams echoing throughout the album; I even had difficulty understanding what was sung due to this. Occasionally, the surrounding riffs and bass lines seem to overpower the vocals too. Thus, unless you are a huge fan of Doom/Sludge Metal in general, I would not recommend this album.

Songwriting: 4
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

1. Welcome to the Shit Show
2. Gimme The Night, Any Day
3. Battlepants
4. Double Barreled Shot-pun
5. The Crotch Wobbler
6. Existence is Pain
7. Broken Heart Heroin Man
8. Meowing at the fridge
9. Jon Gar See Ya Later
10. The Ballad of Tom Stones and Reg Montagne (Part 1)
11. The Ballad of Tom Stones and Reg Montagne (Part 2)
Gareth Kelly – Vocals
Rich Williams – Guitars
Dave Blakemore – Bass
Bill Jacobs – Drums
Record Label: When Planets Collide


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