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Release Date: 20th April 2018

Label: Self Released

Genre: Groove Metal

Gutlocker have riffs. Big sludgy riffs that caress you in the same way that a kraken would. Cry Havoc! Is another slab of punishing groove metal that the band have been dishing out since their inception. A regular sight on shows all over the UK, Gutlocker look beyond that here, giving a slight indication that groove metal is not quite a closed chapter in a history book just yet.

Opening track ‘Bitter Memory’ slaps you around with a four-beat china cymbal intro before giving birth to a groove that is infectious. Scratchy vocals sit high in the mix and are a bittersweet concoction of outright screaming and guttural gasping, chaotic in such a way that they only help to reinforce the madness that happens behind them.   

‘No Burden’ is a solid example of how simplicity can make a track instrumentally great. A solemn lumbering riff accented with the odd cymbal dash here and drum fill there. The tracks weakness, however, is the exact same as what the praise for ‘Bitter Memory’ was, the vocals. Here they feel out of place and just thrown on top of the mix, rather than becoming part of it. A shame all in all as instrumentation is a great throwback to alcohol laced Pantera.

The final half of this four track EP sounds subtly different, the vocal intensity is shifted up and it all feels as though it has a far more professional eye cast over it. ‘Stuck’ channels Randy Blythe esque vocals whereas ‘Welcome to Fucktown’ is a shifting and far more complex beast. It’s the vocals on ‘Stuck’ that shows the room that Gutlocker have to expand, yes it harks back to Sacrament era Lamb of God but no one else is carrying these vocals at the moment. Likewise, the complexity and tonal changes on ‘Welcome to Fucktown’ sit somewhere between Mastodon’s progressive side and Eyehategod’s riffing.  It is also the only time on the EP that space is given to swing the instrumentation back and forth, giving the track a huge dynamic leap over the others.

Gutlocker are not reinventing the groove metal wheel. But they are adding spikes and chains to it. A mixture of modern progression and an ear for nostalgia means that Gutlocker are soon to outlive their time on smaller bills up and down the country.  

Rating: 7/10

Recommended Track: Stuck

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