posted on 6/2006 By:
No matter how high a given listener’s standard for creativity may be, there’s almost invariably a couple bands who aren’t doing anything new but manage to somehow ‘click’ with the listener. That applies especially to the innovation-starved wastes of heavy metal, and for this reviewer, it applies to this here EP by Boston’s Gut (not to be confused with German porn-grinders Gut). These fellas haven’t done anything wild or outlandish—not even a little, really—but Shrubbery’s blend of death metal, thrash and a dash of bluesy seventies rock is full of meat-and-potatoes riffy goodness and sharp songwriting. Not mind-boggling, but this kind of shit makes the suppressed knuckledragger old-school metalhead inside me bang his little head furiously.
The really ironic thing is that I regularly slam this kind of release for being so redundant. What I don’t always elaborate on is the reason I find the redundancy so grating. The majority of ‘old-school’ type bands, particularly in thrash metal and death metal, always come off like they don’t edit their music. Sure, all of the ingredients of their subgenre are present in spades, but the songs generally sound written specifically to contain those ingredients rather than to use them for any particular purpose. Gut, to their credit, clearly put some real time into their craft. There’s no flash or experimentation to be had here—even the production is pure, nostalgic analog—but there’s an inherent melodicism and hookiness in the bluesy opening salvo of “Smoking Man” or the choppy waltz of “The Butcher.” The up-tempo segments manage to exude that frenetic vigor required of good thrash, the grooves punish rather than just clumping past, and the solos are tasteful and appropriately brief.
I guess what it comes down to is that there’s something to be said for playing good, honest, heartfelt metal, ‘cause it isn’t done very often these days. Gut have been playing together for five years now according to their website, and the difference between them and bands who have large-label support after ten months of existence is very apparent. Soldier on, dudes. You’re fighting the good fight.
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