Review Summary: Transcendental black metal? Try go fuck yourself.
“Kvlt” black metal, “trve” black metal, call it whatever you’d like but in 2012 real black is still alive and kicking tremendous amounts of ass. From the Cascadians and their nature inspired approach to the Black Twilight Circle's ominous atmospheric noise, underground black metal is thriving and it’s fans couldn’t be any happier (well as happy as black metal fans get anyway). Joining the ranks of excellence alongside bands like Odz Manouk, Cornigr, and Aksumite amongst others, South England’s Gaunt and their first untitled demo is a release that will soon set the worldwide black metal fan base ablaze.
The essence of Gaunt lies in their purveyance of true, untainted black metal – with many people nowadays thinking reinventing the wheel is the way to go, Gaunt shoves those ideals down their throats, exemplifying that sticking to the basics can be just as, if not more rewarding than attempting originality for its own sake. Take for instance opening song “Under The Sun of Torture”; seething with aggression the song sticks to the same basic blasting pace for the majority of its running time, hypnotizing the listener with its grand repetition and ever so subtle chord changes. At first listen it’s easy to mistake Gaunt’s blackened chaos for a cluttered mess, but really their structuring is superb – the band knows exactly what they’re doing, building songs in way that succeeds in sticking to black metal’s most basic tenets while also enthralling the listener with its skillful craft.
With “Under the Sun of Torture” easily being the most “one-sided” of the demos three tracks, the following two songs, “The One In the Void” and “Ministry of Reconstruction” are where Gaunt truly hit their stride – infusing simple yet stark melodies into the songs the band successfully plays both the atmospheric and more riff based fields of black metal; while in one instant they have you locked in their eerie trance, the next grabs your attention with crude yet great guitar lines, once again digging into black metal’s origins with their punky panache. In it’s relatively short running time of thirteen minutes, Gaunt’s introductory demo should no doubt have you craving more – displaying a near perfect performance, their b(l)ack to the roots delivery has certainly earned them a spot at the top of the black metal pedestal, a more than worthy addition to the growing number of excellent bands that have made black metal listening such a pleasure this past year.