Metal heads and the Internet have such a peculiar relationship. Rather than embracing the thousands and thousands of hours of music available to them, energy that could be spent discovering new favourite bands is wasted in comment threads and message boards. Because we just can’t have nice things. Arguing about genres is the worst offender and the most energy sapping to boot, so it could probably go without saying that plenty will dispute the preferred genre tag of India’s Gutslit. Their sophomore release Amputheatre probably isn’t grind enough for grinders, brutal enough for death metal fanatics – hell, it’s probably not even slam enough for the fashionistas of that charming subset of listeners – yet there’s a bit for everyone here. Except nu prog kids. You can all go home.
In the context of Gutslit’s discography, Amputheatre is a sweet breath of fresh air. Their debut was messy, fractured and without direction; the hastily chopped together rustic death and sterile grind made plenty of noise but never worked up enough steam to wet the windows of worldwide recognition. With a new vocalist in tow, the switch from rough and ready brutality to a streamlined, devastatingly punchy and modern death metal sound has come off without a hitch. The sleek production and gorgeous artwork belong in the same breath as the most aesthetically pleasing of the year thus far. It’s a dazzling package and the gift inside isn’t bad either.
It would be hyperbolic to put this up there with the best releases of the year because it’s not. The death-grind (let’s go with that) is relentless and splendidly offensive on the ears, but it never really punches above the acts that laid the foundations for Gutslit to build upon. Aborted and their modern deathgrind sound are the easiest to be pulled from the sounds of “From Ear To Ear” and “Maraschino Eyes”, but brutal British mob Ingested and even earlier, pre-cleans Whitechapel have their bell rung in honour on this release. Songs shift from an early-days-of-deathcore attack into Slam City riffs with consummate ease and precision, high and low death vocals sprayed liberally over trem picked riffs that oozed out of turn of the century metalcore. It’s fast as all fuck when required, low and slow when necessary. It’s just a shame that these sections sounds so much like bands operating today.
While it may not be distracting, the influence of these bands (or ones very similar) definitely plays a big part in what makes this album tick but not tock. Some will find sweet comfort in “Scaphism” and it’s d-beat stylings, but most will see it is as a short burst of aggression and a track worthy of a quick windmilling mosh. The creeping middle section of “Maraschino Eyeballs” will perk up the ears of a passive listener but only for so long. To pick and choose select passages of other tracks would be redundant as, impressive as they may be, there are other instances of exactly the same structuring and delivery of said structure. Frustration sets it because the talent and chops are there and it’s clear that Gutslit can play.
Amputheatre is just a bit too inoffensive to be more than an above average death metal release. The sound the band have settled for on this record is just too uniform. Though it may be devastating and relentless, it’s too static; there’s unfortunately little to no distinction between each track on this record, save for the scene setting intro track (one that actually builds up anticipation, fitting with the records themes to boot) and the reigned in finale. Gutslit can perform pulverising death metal but like the troll happy Internet nerds love to say – “heard it already”. A fantastic passive listen though.
Amputheatre saw release on October 15th. You can head on over to the band’s Bandcamp above to get it. Stay brutal.