Gut is an odd band. Itís been said before, and Iíll say it again. Why? Because itís an apt description, thatís why. These Bostonian metal-heads are certainly one of the more curious acts thatís come into my life as of late. You see, when I was introduced to Gut, there were two things I noted immediately: their rather unusual name, and the articles attached to the band. In the words of Gut themselves: ďAn insanely brutal assault of murderously evil, ear bludgeoning super Death, Doom, Thrash, Grind, Speed - core absolutely does NOT describe GUT."
Well, when listening to the music, you wonít be able to understand exactly what category Gut falls into anyway. Why the band had to go and confuse people even more with such a statement is beyond my logical reasoning. Okay, not really: itís kind of like a cheap marketing ploy; one designed to keep a certain sense of mysticism about the artist themselves. Itís been done before.
Actually, basically everything Gut has done with their debut EP Shrubbery
has been done before. The band themselves have been lauded all over for their varied musical tastes (ranging from thrash, hardcore, the blues, jazz, and stoner-rock) influencing their songwriting. You see, the one catch Gut has with critics is the fact that theyíre odd and their music is drawn from all over. Well, as you know, I wonít refute the fact that theyíre odd. Refer to the first paragraph for more on that. However, Gut is not musically virtuosic. As a matter of fact, most of Shrubbery
sounds identical, up until the slightly monotone-breaking introduction of the final song, ďThe Butcher (Knee Deep In Blood)." Gut pretty much sounds like a slower, sloppier version of Pantera
. Iíd imagine that alone will turn plenty of potential listeners off.
However, even if it isnít as eclectic as you mightíve been led to believe, the instrumentation on Shrubbery
actually isnít bad at all. The guitar riffs, while slow and (occasionally) sloppy are appropriately metal, and should keep most head-bangers happy. Guitarists Jeremy Youngberg and Geoff Morse keep things nice and steady, and even throw in a solo here and there. Take ďSmoking Man" and ďPromise Keeper" for example. Both of these songs showcase the best Gut has to offer guitar-wise. As the bass and drum kit go, Mark Pryor and Mike Adams (bass, drums respectively) do a good job of anchoring the furious guitar barrage the blitzkriegs your ears. The only real downside to the musicianship on Shrubbery
is that itís plagued by terrible production. Gutís record label, Fat Togue, certainly proves that itís new to the game, and definitely underground. Still, the shi
tty sound adds a certain sense of, dare I say charm, to Shrubbery
So, where does Gut fail? The vocals. Front-man Brian Morseís performance on Shrubbery
is absolutely atrocious. His harsh, guttural, start-stop scream hardly appeases the ears, and makes the entire album sound filthy. It isnít a good kind of filth, either. When Morseís starts his ridiculous excuse for singing, Shrubbery
begins to sound like a radio station thatís struggling for reception. Lyrically, the album is slightly below average. Gut like to stick plenty of metal clichťs into their wordplay, mixed with a little bit of profanity. Of course, with Morse doing God-knows what behind the mic, you canít understand them anyway. Now, I know that this is underground metal, and itís supposed to be, well, heavy, but come on. Morse just canít cut it with this vocal style. Heís likely to contract polyps, and we wouldnít want that, would we, Gut?
At the end of the eighteen minutes and thirty three seconds that is Shrubbery
, I (as well as any other listener, Iím sure) feel cheated. Gut show frustrating potential thatís poorly utilized. The band really isnít that bad, they just have plenty of kinks to work out before they hit the big time. More than anything, they need to have a chat with Morse. His faux-Neanderthal grunt isnít working in the bandís best interest at this point. Thereís nothing inherently wrong with him, he just needs to sing
a little more, because thatís what singers
is a decent release from a band that can bring much more to the table than this. Still, Iím going to adopt a ďwait and see" approach before I join the Gut fan club. I suggest that you do the same.