Gutless – Mass Extinction (2019) REVIEW

With nearly six hundred million years of geologic data at their fingertips the first to have seen history repeat itself on the most grand and destructive scale are perhaps some of the least celebrated scientists in this new age of idiocy. Geologists have already seen the end, five times over, in the stratum of sediment and ancient remains of forgotten beasts. When their knowing eye for doom turns towards the last 11,700 years the projections for the in-action Holocene mass extinction event sets the loss of species on Earth well above the average 75% that the five mass extinction events of the last ~four hundred million years all shared. When people casually say mankind’s anthropocene end is coming they might not understand how right they are, that is isn’t just a gloomy conspiracy theory but a factual eventuality that will permanently erase the Earthen capacity for life as we know it. Extinction doesn’t just come from changing climes, pollution, and human over-consumption but a natural cascade of species-specific eradication that leads to such low biodiversity that no species, not even humans, could adapt quick enough to live without so many others. Death is a guarantee we can all accept as humanity comes to a close but the suffering and torment created by massive overpopulation has already taken an unimaginable toll upon the ever-shrinking planet. The oceans that surround us are already the massive soup that’d portend the apocalypse for mankind, their poisonous irreverence already begins to spread cancer and death on a too massive a scale to comprehend while we fish and eat from what is a massive toilet for the most ignorant nations. Melbourne, Australian death metal act Gutless see the bigger picture of the end and scoff at the desperate door-clawing screams of humanity as those scurrying, suicidal rats regret drown in pools of acidic sludge and crushed plastic.

They’re not environmentalists or geologists as far as I can manage but, a deeply underground band of savages creating a ‘new old school’ form of death metal that hearkens back to the 1987-1991 era of peak saturation that left is the scores of demo tapes that we’ve all worshiped and re-discovered over the last three decades. You’d likely felt that love within the discography of the now defunct death-thrashers Sewercide who’ve split into several factions that I’d contemplated in the review for the debut full-length from one offshoot, the terminally brutal Vile Apparition. While it is clear that ‘Immortalized Suffering’ and ‘Depravity Ordained’ are both fantastic albums I’m almost more excited to see what Gutless will do beyond this demo which was originally released in 2018 on the venerable Maggot Stomp Records, and now sees release on compact disc thanks to the legends at Chaos Records. It’d be easy to see a lot of these solid death metal demos coming from the younger death metal sects as ‘similar’ but that wouldn’t hold up beyond the face value that raw tape-worship appropriate murk provides for groups like Crematory Stench, Evulse, Caustic Vomit. Not only have we seen the highly capable evolution of bands like Ossuarium, Mortuous, and Tomb Mold from sludgy tapes but the folks in Gutless have, again, already proven they can crank out distinct death metal like pros. Is that potential there on ‘Mass Extinction’?

Gutless are immediately evocative of the current death metal scene in Melbourne today which focuses on a brutal sound not unlike the Netherlands scene in the early 90’s as groups like Sinister and Polluted Inheritance took elements of Florida and New York death metal and applied their death/thrash leanings to that approach. This paired with a clear love of brutal death places Gutless next to one of the most promising death metal up-and-comers Faceless Burial in many respects but also begins to sound just a little bit too close to the ethos the band have already well-established with Vile Apparition. There needs to be just a little bit more separation between those styles, though they are not impossibly similar, and most of that observation primarily comes from the drum patterns. The riffs are the great differentiation on ‘Mass Extinction’ and their style is heavily influenced by both brutal death and death/thrash metal that really shines atop a drum performance reminiscent of the first Abramelin album. This’ll all boil down to an approximation of ‘Human Waste’ in motion and if that is where Gutless are going to land in the future I’m pretty well on board already. Highly recommended. For preview “Evil Incarnate” or “Boiled Alive” are the best place to start if only for their propulsive starts.

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Artist Gutless
Type Demo [CD issue]
Released April 24, 2019 
BUY & LISTEN on Chaos Records’ Bandcamp! [CD issue]

BUY from Maggot Stomp [Cassette]

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Genre Death Metal

Boiled to death. 3.75/5.0

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