Tag Archives: gurt

Year End: The 5 Best Splits of 2016

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5) Temple Steps/Wreck

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A massive, lurching doom behemoth from Lincoln’s Temple Steps and Germany’s Wreck, this split highlights two young talents who are making a captivating low-tempo racket. While Temple Steps prefer the long form, almost funeral doom approach to song structures, Wreck have a real sludgy guitar tone and some really creative riffs that make their tracks a little more interesting. The production is a little rough round the edges, but it’ll be fascinating to watch both bands grow on their next releases.

4) God Mother/Artemis

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Sweden’s God Mother teamed up with Basingstoke’s Artemis for their final release (another great band taken by the onslaught of 2016) and it’s a bittersweet effort as Artemis put forward 2 of their best songs. Both bands fit into the same metallic hardcore mold with extremely progressive song structures that focus on speed and aggression. Fans of hardcore are serviced well by this 7”.

3) Szyslak/Misgivings

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This double-dose of pop punk from the two fresh faces of Brighton’s Szyslak and Portsmouth’s Misgivings offers up 4 tracks of no-nonsense, hooky punk-rock for fans of Gnarwolves. It’s great to hear more pop punk cropping up with a little more bite than the usual sugary, hyper-polished efforts by a lot of the big name bands like Blink-182 and Green Day so if you enjoy massive sing-a-long choruses but like your punk with a bit of dirt then you can do no wrong with this split.

2) Harrowed/Art of Burning Water

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“Harrowed are still an exciting hardcore band and these tracks are by no means bad, they’re just not up to the band’s usual standard. Fingers crossed Harrowed have another belter of a long-player in the works because it’s about time we saw something more substantial from the band. It’s weird to think that Into Inferno is around 3 years old now.”

“Thankfully, despite all these elements coming into play, they manage to fuse in a way that makes Art of Burning Water’s music sound utterly ferocious. Let Me Let You Finish is the perfect example of all these musical styles coming together harmoniously and it’s a terrifying and scattershot explosion of disgusting metal that demands your attention. Please start paying attention to what Art of Burning Water are doing because a band like this shouldn’t be so criminally overlooked.”

Click here to read the full review.

1) Gurt/Trippy Wicked – Guppy

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Seeing as how Gurt and Trippy Wicked now share a drummer, it made perfect sense for the sludge metallers to team up for a split and the result is nothing short of excellent. Gurt are on form once again with their special blend of sludge and hardcore that makes for a suitably unpredictable yet surprisingly memorable couple of songs, but it’s Trippy Wicked that really shine. Their first new material in 3 years, this is easily the best the band has sounded. There’s real depth to their bluesy sound now and the production finally makes them sound as massive as they do live. Let’s not forget the wonderfully daft cover of T. Rex’s Children of the Revolution which sees members from both bands team up to create a truly “revolting” version of the rock classic.


Review: Allfather’s Bless the Earth with Fire

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Allfather return with their debut… album? Mini-album? Can a 6 track record clocking in at just under 34 minutes really be classed as an album? Sorry, I’ve lost myself already. These things matter to me, okay?

Allfather’s debut album is called Bless the Earth with Fire and it marks a stylistic shift in sound that sees the band move away from their groovy, Raging Speedhorn-esque hardcore to a more sludge and doom-lead sound, similar to the way Iced Out have changed over the years. The band now sound more like Gurt or Iron Monkey which is definitely no bad thing.

Sludge metal suits Allfather down to the ground. The songs on Bless the Earth with Fire are now more long-form with a bigger emphasis on groove. No, wait; not just groove, but punishing groove. Album opener Raskolnikov showcases Allfather’s new found confidence and the power of the riffs lends the sound a lovely swagger that persists throughout.

Things get really doomy for The Bloody Noose which puts Allfather’s new found appreciation of long-form song-writing front and centre. Luckily the band have also seen fit to not completely dump their hardcore roots and have blended them nicely into their new found appreciation of sludge. Mouth of the Beast in particular starts out as the most hardcore-sounding song on the album before moving back into the slower, sludgier tempos that have come before it.

The real highlight of Bless the Earth with Fire comes in the form of the 11 minute behemoth Death, and Hell Followed with Him. Quite easily the best thing the band have produced so far, this song starts out like a doom track, unleashes a fantastic solo around the 4 minute mark and then brings back that savage groove around 6 minutes. It’s so wonderfully diverse and loaded with neck-breaking riffs; a real treat for fans of heavy music.

Allfather have evolved significantly since their debut EP and with Bless the Earth with Fire we see the band writing more diverse and interesting songs that complement the shift towards sludge metal. It also rocks like a mother fucker.

8/10

Allfather’s Bless the Earth with Fire is out now and can be bought on CD and cassette direct from the band.


Review: Slabdragger’s Rise of the Dawncrusher

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It’s been a long time coming, but Slabdragger are back in action with their sophomore album Rise of the Dawncrusher; a massive, sludgy, behemoth of a concept album that improves on their debut in every conceivable way. Got your attention?

Slabdragger were already a force to be reckoned with and their debut album Regress showcased their ultra-dense grooves and long-form song structures in a fantastic way, but with Rise of the Dawncrusher, everything is now even heavier without sacrificing melody and it’s just glorious. Genuinely glorious. I felt like I was having a metal epiphany listening to this record. I imagine if Hendrix was into Black Sabbath, this is the sort of thing he’d make.

Opening with the 11 minute beast that is Mercenary Blues, Slabdragger put their quite brilliant guitar work front and centre and it makes for a seriously punishing yet hugely memorable experience that will keep fans of all things slow and groovy extremely satisfied. The amount of amazing riffs in this song should be illegal and they all deserve to be included in ‘Top 10 Riffs of All Time’ articles.

It doesn’t end there. This record is an absolute monster from start to finish. Slabdragger follow up the opening track with the unashamedly ripping Evacuate!; one of the most disgustingly noisy things Slabdragger have ever concocted. Then it’s back to the groove with the monstrous Shrine of Debauchery; a song with a title so metal it’s probably chrome-plated.

Look, I realise this review is big on the hyperbole, but it’s not often I’m given a record so delicious and as utterly mouth-watering as Rise of the Dawncrusher. It’s everything I want from a sludge record and more and it’s honestly quite difficult to believe it actually exists.

The UK is spoilt for great sludge as Slabdragger are competing with other brilliant acts like Limb, Gurt, Monolithian and Opium Lord, but Rise of the Dawncrusher sets a new standard for UK sludge metal. Slabragger have written a follow-up so utterly devastating that it demands your attention. Slabdragger, man; what a band.

10/10

Slabdragger’s Rise of the Dawncrusher is out now and available to buy on CD and vinyl from Holy Roar Records.


Review: Mage’s Last Orders

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When I noticed that Mage’s latest album Last Orders was only 7 tracks long I began to worry that the groove-metallers might have rushed an album out that wouldn’t make it to the half hour mark. What I was not prepared for was how much the band have grown as song-writers since Black Sands. Mage have evolved into a doom-ridden, sludgy beast of a band. The groove is still there but the band have seen fit to take elements from various down-tempo heavy music like desert rock and fuse it with their signature sound to create a thunderous slab of quality metal that’s immensely satisfying to listen to.

The band have also decided to indulge their proggier leanings by generally writing far longer songs than the band have created previously. Melodies are often not revisited once they shift into a new riff and there are some impressive bursts of speed in tracks like Dark Matter and Old Bones. These thrashier moments are beautiful little additions that help break up the slower pace of the album which is a genius move as the down-tempo nature of the band’s music could’ve become a bit tiresome.

Special mention has to be given to guitarists Woody and Ben who deliver massive riff after massive riff. There are plenty of thick, chunky chords to bite into throughout the album and they’re decorated with some impressive solos like the one on The Fallen. A good solo should always favour melody over technicality and Mage are fully aware of this which is why each solo on Last Orders is a really momentous occasion.

Rounding out this rather meaty package is the wonderful production job by Chris Fielding who keeps the guitar and bass tones as murky and filth-ridden as you’d expect them to be on a sludge metal record. Fielding has seen fit to give the bass prominence in this mix and it suits the huge, spacey vibe of songs like Lux Mentis and Beyond to a tee.

The only real negative we can sling at Mage is that they are an excellent sludge band in a sea of excellent sludge bands. Mage inhabit the same space as bands like Limb, Gurt, Black Moth and Trippy Wicked and they’re often a very similar experience. If more groovy, desert sludge is what you want then Mage have you covered but if you’re after something with an identity of its own then you might be out of luck.

Regardless, Mage have put together a stunning sophomore album that improves on every element of the band’s sound and marks a massive leap forward from their debut album Black Sands. Last Orders is an enormous, neck-bothering monster of an album that sludge fans will be stupid to miss.

8/10

Mage’s Last Orders is out now and available to order on CD via Witch Hunter Records.


Review: Gurt’s Horrendosaurus

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4 years into Gurt’s existence and after the release of a string of EPs and splits, the band are finally ready to deliver their début album Horrendosaurus and like the repulsive dinosaur that features on the album’s cover this is a monolithic slab of sludge metal that doesn’t disappoint.

Gurt’s strengths have always lied with their uncanny ability to write a massive groove and Horrendosaurus is stuffed to the brim with them. Highlights include Sludge Puppies which bursts through the doors with a fast-paced riff that soon progresses into a massive doom-laden melody that will soundtrack any upcoming apocalypse you’d like to attend.

Special mention also has to be given to the album’s title track Horrendosaurus which earns its place as the title track simply by being an unnaturally enormous song that isn’t short on riffs. Switching between doom and a desert-rock groove throughout the entirety of the track makes for a brilliant dynamic that is hugely satisfying to bang your head to.

Also returning is Gareth Kelly’s wonderfully daft lyrics which have resulted in song titles like Gardening with Cthulu and Eves Droppings. Kelly is always a joy to listen to because his throaty belch is as metal as they come and he always sounds like he’s enjoying every second of his band’s music.

The only thing working against Gurt is that their song-writing is a bit formulaic. Every song is built around a lurching yet catchy groove that never really lets up to allow for something else to happen. Winston begins with a thunderous bass-line that marks one of the very few moments of variety on Horrendosaurus but it doesn’t take long before the riffs drop and we’re back into sludge territory. Regardless, this is a minor complaint because even though Gurt never really explore any sounds outside their comfort zone they always pull another smashing riff from their sleeve. If anything you can always rely on the band for consistency.

Horrendosaurus can only be described as a huge record. It’s massive. It really is very big. Gurt have filled this album with as many riffs as they can muster and it makes for a hugely enjoyable listening experience. Fans of sludge and doom metal are in for one of the most reliably fun albums of the year and Gurt have delivered a full-length that highlights everything that has made them worthy of your attention for these past 4 years.

8/10

Gurt’s Horrendosaurus is out now and can be purchased via this link.


Review: Limb’s Limb

We’ve finally arrived at Limb’s first long player and it’s been a hell of ride. The desert sludgesters have delivered a demo (confusingly under the same name as this album), a 7” EP and a magnificent split with fellow sludgemeisters Gurt and now the band are putting their statement of intent out there with this their début self-titled album.

Limb stick pretty close to their tried and tested formula of crushing grooves, slow tempos and throaty roaring. Only two of the tracks appearing on this record have reared their head in the past with ‘Daemoness’ featuring on their first release in a much dirtier guise and ‘Gift of the Sun’ also getting a re-recording after it’s appearance on the 7” of the same name. Both songs sound as enormous as ever with ‘Daemoness’ sounding absolutely gigantic thanks to the brilliant production values that weren’t a privilege back when Limb started doing their thing.

As per usual, Limb’s axeman Pat Pask and bassist Sam Cooper absolutely steal the show thanks to their undeniable talent for writing a ball-busting riff. Every song that appears on Limb’s self-titled LP boasts a groove that’ll have you stomping around the house like a Viking stalking his next meal.

It’s also great to hear vocalist Rob Hoey move away from his lower-pitched yell to a full-on scream in songs like ‘Eternal Psalm Pt II’. It seems odd that we should be praising a man for simply screaming in a slightly different fashion, but when you hear the song kick into gear with Hoey’s vocals it sounds absolutely electric.

However, the real brilliance of Limb’s song-writing is the progressive nature of the music. Sludge metal doesn’t really sit well with progressive song structures but Limb rarely revisit a melody in any of their songs which keeps you gripped throughout the entire record. This is an extremely clever approach on Limb’s part because the consistent use of slow tempos means that the record could have become extremely tiresome if it wasn’t for the smart song-writing.

The only drawback comes in the form of drummer Jodie Wyatt. There’s nothing wrong with Wyatt’s simplistic yet hard-hitting style, but what is going on with that ride cymbal? I know this is a petty little niggle but I couldn’t help but notice that Wyatt favours the ride over a crash which brings an almost muted cymbal hit into the mix and she’s uses it a lot. Again, I realise this is an almost pathetic complaint but I can’t help but wonder what this record would’ve sounded like if Wyatt favoured the crash and gave the songs some satisfying impact.

Regardless of this small complaint, Limb’s self-titled début album is a beast of record that’s stuffed with Earth-moving riffs and enough groove to bring a legion of followers to the band’s cause. Limb have delivered the record they were always threatening to and it’s a welcome addition to any sludge fan’s collection.

8/10

Limb’s self-titled début album is out now through New Heavy Sounds and available to buy on CD and vinyl from Cargo Records.


Review: Iced Out’s Jukai

Durham noise-mongers Iced Out return for another round of sludgy hardcore and their first new material since last March’s split with Razoreater. This is their new 7” EP ‘Jukai’, released through Church of Fuck and Moshtache Records and it marks a noticeable shift in the band’s sound.

The key elements of Iced Out’s special blend of crusty hardcore are still here but what you’ll notice from the very beginning of ‘Life Through a Mask’ is that Iced Out have significantly slowed down the pace of their music which brings to mind Cancer Bats’ ‘Dead Set on Living’. The buzzsaw, HM-2 guitar tone is still there and vocalist Chippy is still belching his way over the band’s music, but the slower pace brings an almost sludge metal vibe to the band’s sound which is akin to bands like Gurt and label mates Trudger.

‘Jukai’ sticks with its focus on slower tempos through each of the EP’s four songs and it makes it more apparent as to what is so brilliant about the band’s music. You can’t help but focus in on guitarist Adam Kennedy’s simple yet bruising riffs. It was apparent Kennedy was a talented guitarist on the band’s previous releases, but when the music is laid out so bare you can really appreciate just how monolithic the guitarist can sound. Backed with the thunderous bass work of Matthew Marko and the calculated yet punishing drumming of Andrew Hartley, Iced Out have never sounded so big.

An EP highlight comes in the form of closer ‘Some Kind of Plague’ which trudges along with a huge, doom-like stomp. Just as you feel like the song is winding down, Kennedy’s abrasive guitar work explodes back into action with a riff that will likely snap your neck if given enough time. It’s wonderful to hear how something as simple as changing the tempo can create such devastating moments like these.

Special mention also has to given to the consistent production work of Joe No Studio who is becoming a Church of Fuck mainstay. The man channels GodCity Studio and Kurt Ballou’s production style which gives the raucous noise enough room to breathe. The mix allows you focus in on every layer of the song’s structure but manages to keep the rawness of the band’s Entombed-like atmosphere intact. Put simply, Iced Out have never sounded this good.

Once again Iced Out manage to bottle pure fury and put it on record. The shift in atmosphere that is brought about by the slower-paced songs suits the oppressive nature of the band’s music perfectly and creates some absolutely crushing anthems of despair. Iced Out have proven that there’s more to this band than straight-forward hardcore and ‘Jukai’ marks a huge evolution for them. If you get a chance to see the band perform this material in a live environment then make sure to wear a neck brace because with riffs this big you might do yourself some serious damage.

8/10

Iced Out’s ‘Jukai’ will be out mid-April through Church of Fuck and Moshtache Records.


Year End: The 5 Best Split Records of 2013

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Before we start our list of the best split records of 2013, please remember that this list was decided by one person and therefore represents the opinions of one person. This will likely not reflect your own opinion but that’s okay; there’s room for more than one opinion in this crazy world of ours and your’s is just as valid. As per the theme of UK Scumscene, this list also contains releases by UK bands ONLY. Okay then, let’s get this show on the road:

5) War Wolf/Sob Story

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A double dose of crusty, sludgy hardcore from Brighton’s War Wolf and Sob Story. This split cassette contains some seriously abrasive stuff, but like a lot of the best UK hardcore it’s smart and bizarrely memorable for something so raucous. Both bands absolutely knock it out of the park but special mention has to be given to War Wolf who have put out a mini-album, this split and a proper long-player in this year alone.

4) Razoreater/Iced Out

What we said:

“Both bands put forward some of the best music they’ve recorded so far and do it in such a vicious way that they sound like they’ve put everything they had into these recordings. Razoreater and Iced Out have our attention and they’ll soon be coming for yours.”

Read the full review here.

3) Let it Die/Monolithian – Because the World is Perfidious, I Am Going Into Mourning

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What we said:

“Let It Die and Monolithian’s split seven-inch is a savage showcase of two of the best UK underground metal bands and they’re on brilliant form. With songs like this, both bands won’t be playing the toilet circuit for much longer so you better get on board before you miss your opportunity. This is an essential addition to any metal fan’s collection.”

Read the full review here.

2) Let it Die/Pariso/Svalbard/MINE – Cover Buzz

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What we said:

“‘Cover Buzz’ is a wonderfully ambitious and overblown release. Fans of hardcore punk will find a lot to love as four of the UK’s brightest hopes play classic hardcore with all the piss and vinegar you’d expect from one of their own releases. It’s also brilliant to see five record labels stump up a bit of support for such an elaborate release. Records like this manage to showcase some of the most interesting ideas in UK heavy music and it’s a release we can’t recommend enough.”

Read the full review here.

1) Gurt/Limb – Split Roast

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This split was enormous amounts of fun and heavier than my balls after a year of abstinence. There hasn’t been any other split that’s been as thoroughly enjoyable all year. The pairing of both Gurt and Limb was a match made in heaven with both bands giving it their all.

What we said:

“Gurt and Limb’s ‘Split Roast’ is a wonderful release that is equal parts punishing and fun. How many doom records can you name that you would regard fun? This is the real pulling factor on ‘Split Roast’ and you can hear that both bands had an absolute blast making it. Is party doom a thing yet because I think both bands may have just invented it.”


Our Picks for Catbird’s Sunday Roasting on Bloodstock Radio (17/11/2013)

We returned to co-host Catbird’s Sunday Roasting beside James Begley of Hybris on the 17th of November 2013. Below is a list of our picks for the show and links to online stores that allow you to purchase the releases they are featured on. We thoroughly recommend you scope out the bands we featured as we truly believe they are some of the best UK rock and metal artists doing the rounds:

MINE – Disappear (buy here)
Funeral for a Friend – Storytelling Part 2 (buy here)
Press to Meco – Affinity (buy here)
Rhoda May – #8 (Out 6/1/2014. Download 589 EP which features this song here)
Gurt – Psycho Killer (buy here)


Review: Gurt and Limb’s Split Roast

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Witch Hunter Records return with a split of epic proportions. London-based sludge-metallers Gurt and Limb join forces for ‘Split Roast’. The release features three tracks from both bands; one original song, one cover and one cover of a song from each other’s band.

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Gurt kick things off with the bombastic, grinding groove of ‘Sophisticate’ which rocks a killer riff that will satisfy the headbanger in all of us. Gurt decide to stick with a more mid-paced groove for the entire song instead of their usual switch between doom and thrash-punk which usually defines songs like ‘Soapfeast’. The change is definitely a positive one as the song allows you to take in that excellent groove and really appreciate it. A solid start from the sludgemeisters.

Next up is a hugely enjoyable cover of Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ which has no place sounding so good as a sludge metal song. Gurt have done a brilliant job fuzzing up the Talking Heads classic and when vocalist Gareth Kelly belts out that famous “ooo-ooo-ohhhhh!” you’ll have a hard time not raising those claws. The song only stumbles when Kelly attempts the “fa fa fa fas” which don’t really lend themselves too well to the front-man’s growl, but otherwise this is a massively entertaining take on the new wave classic.

Finally Gurt have a go at rearranging Limb’s ‘Gift of the Sun’ from their recent 7” of the same name. Gurt definitely deliver in making the song sound like themselves which is a commendable achievement for any band making a cover. The main differences to the original come with Kelly’s choice of vocal style which is more of a scream compared to Rob Hoey’s more melodic bark. The only other change comes in simply slowing the track down slightly and making it rely more heavily on its more simplistic groove. Once again Gurt nail another satisfying slab of doom.

8/10

LIMB

Limb return with ‘Plague Doctor’ which proves this band are still on an upwards trajectory. Limb are a punishing desert rock outfit with massive hooks, simple yet enjoyable grooves and Rob Hoey’s raw yet melodious vocals which are a little bit more recognisable than Gurt’s. Limb have added another cracking song to their discography which is getting us incredibly hyped for their upcoming debut album.

Unfortunately for Gurt, Limb really steal the show when it comes to covers. The band give the stoner makeover to Queen’s ‘Son and Daughter’ which works almost too well. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe how well the song works with its central hook slowed down enough to give it more of an impact. This is hugely impressive stuff from Limb and not many bands can boast that they can make Queen sound like anybody else other than Queen.

Limb continue their cover onslaught with Gurt’s ‘Soapfeast’ which is made considerably more enjoyable simply by making Gareth Kelly’s vocals more understandable. The brilliantly over-the-top swear-a-thon contains the wonderfully daft line “I don’t really give a cunting fuck”. This is made even more enjoyable by repeating it over and over for the song’s refrain. Who would’ve thought swearing could be so fun?

9/10

Gurt and Limb’s ‘Split Roast’ is a wonderful release that is equal parts punishing and fun. How many doom records can you name that you would regard fun? This is the real pulling factor on ‘Split Roast’ and you can hear that both bands had an absolute blast making it. Is party doom a thing yet because I think both bands may have just invented it.

‘Split Roast’ by Gurt and Limb is out now and available to order from Witch Hunter Records.