It’s obvious that deathcore is having a moment. The long-derided and often rejected subgenre came back with a vengeance in 2021, with zero signs of abating in 2022. Just two months into the year, and we’ve already been blessed (or cursed, depending on your deathcore opinions) with solid albums from subgenre mainstays like Enterprise Earth and Fit For An Autopsy. But perhaps the most exciting offerings from this new wave come from hybrid outfits that are stretching the sound of deathcore in harsher, more expansive directions, such as blackened deathcore outfit Worm Shepherd and symphonic deathcore group Shadow of Intent. These genre-bending bands are quickly transforming deathcore from a passing introductory phase to one of the most fascinating spaces in metal.
German unit Gutrectomy almost certainly belongs in the latter camp. The deathcore-hybrid group follows a line of super-heavy deathcore releases from the likes of Brand of Sacrifice and Vulvodynia that incorporate slam, deathcore, and metalcore to create a devastating and dynamic sound. The trend, which I admit has been one of my favorites in recent years, seems to be breathing new life into both slamming brutal death metal as well as deathcore.
As one of the main (if not the only) slam aficionados on the Heavy Blog staff, I’m always excited to talk about a br00tal new release, especially one by a band that’s been floating around my playlists for a few years. Gutrectomy has long been a purveyor of a particularly distorted, chugging brand of death metal that blocks the rest of the world out. Across two EPs and two full length albums that have spanned the last eight years, Gutrectomy has been one of the few bands that remind me of disbanded Canadian death metal duo CUFF. The rough, pummeling sound isn’t for everyone, but those that get it understand that good slam is far more than the sum of its simplified parts. Well-executed slamming brutal death metal manages to combine ugly, uncomfortable sounds into addictive ragers that practically force your head to start banging.
Manifestation of Human Suffering undoubtedly fits that definition. Gutrectomy’s second full length album dropped on February 25th via Amputated Vein Records. Though the core of Gutrectomy’s sound remains intact throughout the record, new dimensions are added with a couple borderline ambient tracks and a slightly bizarre mix of slam obscenity and apocalyptic scenes.
To start, the intro track is 1:11 of eerie, dissonant instrumentation and deeply distorted screams. Knowing what to expect from Gutrectomy, even 15 seconds of a semi-ambient track was enough to throw me off. That dissonant note continues throughout Manifestation of Human Suffering, adding a distinctive edge to the entire record. It’s a new side to Gutrectomy, and a welcome one. But as the saying goes, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, and the group continues to rely on the key elements that made them great in the first place. Vocalist Dennis Schuler alternates between growls and harsh screams, occasionally breaking from his signature roar to scream obscenities at the listener, at society, or most likely both. He’s able to jump from screeches to gutturals at a breakneck pace, matching the impressive work by drummer Simon Wernert, who only joined the band in 2020.
Wernert sets the pace for whiplash-inducing tracks like “Cranial Excavation,” which ricochet between breakdowns at a borderline inhuman pace. Blast beats are featured heavily, which won’t be surprising to anyone listening. Every aspect of the album is designed to be jarring, and Wernert’s ability to execute rapidfire tempo changes is fundamental to what makes Manifestation of Human Suffering fun. While Schuler and Wernert jerk listeners abruptly through a maze of blast beats and breakdowns, guitarist Phil Dahlenberg and bassist Louis Weber connect the dots with chugging riffs. The heavily distorted guitars might not appeal to everyone, especially those looking for technical, wide-ranging solos. But the fuzzy sound adds to the overall extreme heaviness of the album, with Dahlenberg taking over at just the right moments to add just the right level of catchiness throughout.
As hard as it might be to believe, Gutrectomy actually pared back some parts of their sound on Manifestation of Human Suffering. Theatrical samples pulled from slasher films are few and far between, just enough to remind us of Gutrectomy’s roots without pushing you to pull IMDB up on your phone in an effort to figure out what movie is being quoted. There’s more of a focus on pure execution, each instrument played perfectly alongside Schuler’s growls to create an extremely heavy record that stretches the boundaries of deathcore. It’s gross, weird, and borderline excessively chugging, but if harsh, raging slam/deathcore is your thing, Manifestation of Human Suffering is well worth your time.
Gutrectomy‘s Manifestation of Human Suffering released on February 25th. You can grab it via their Bandcamp page above.