Brutal Death Metal is a bit of a self-parodying genre these days. The bands are either too “slammy” or too “technical,” with intelligent songwriting being put aside for either an over-abundance of slams, or pointless technical guitar wankery. There are pockets of scenes worldwide that still manage to hold down the crafty nature of the mid-90s til mid-2000s era of Brutal Death Metal – Indonesia certainly springs to mind – but the genre generally fails to keep the interest of the average metal fan these days. This is where Gutslit come into the picture. Hailing from Mumbai’s reputed metal scene that has spawned the likes of Exhumation, Albatross, Solar Deity, among others, Gutslit manage to do more than just casually grab the listener’s attention – they force him/her to take notice.
Starting off their debut full length album with a typical metal album intro, Gutslit get straight into the pummeling with the track “Pustulated Phallic Enthrallment.” The song gives a good window-view into the world of Gutslit. Catchy chunky riffs aligned with a truly inhuman rhythm section lead the way for the entirety of the proceedings. The rhythm section in particular needs to be given props – the drumming is truly barbaric, and the bass-playing is equally eloquent… a word that doesn’t pop up much for the bass-guitar in this genre of music. Immediate hints of Dying Fetus or Benighted can be caught by the average metal ear, and there’s a subtle Cryptopsy element in the name (“Slit Your Guts,” anyone?) that manifests in the technically strong bass-playing as well – but Gutslit is pretty much Gutslit most of the time. The song structures are fairly simple – keep it bulldozing through, keep the vocal patterns simple, add in the sudden little technical flair for variety, keep the music grooving no matter what, and then throw in an absolutely colossal breakdown. A perfect formula, when you get the riffs right – and the riffs here are ridiculously infectious, especially the well-placed breakdowns/slam parts that could rival even the best in Devourment‘s debut album. Speaking of breakdowns, the ones on “Offal Barter, “ and “Atrophic Cranial Disintegration” almost had me couch-moshing and charpai-jumping in my kurta and shalwar. As far as individual tracks go within terms of overall memorability, “Maze of Entrails” takes the entire bloody cake. That’s not to say the other tracks are overweight slouches. They’re all excellent and the replay value for this little album is immense. The fact that it’s just around 26 minutes means that it’s guaranteed repeated listens. If you find yourself blasting this album continuously, don’t be surprised. Gutslit combine individual skill with compact, aggressive and deliberately catchy songwriting in a manner that most metal fans probably haven’t seen since the early works of Gorerotted or Aborted.
I have no qualms with the production either. I’ve heard some criticism about it before, but it’s suitably clear and filthy at the same time for this kind of music. The mixing and sound-levels here are near-perfect, among the best kind of mix job I’ve heard in an Indian band to be honest. Though with this band, the quality shouldn’t just be compared to other Indian metal. Hell, with this level of technical proficiency and expert songwriting, replete with catchy and crunchy breakdowns – this band could easily be from anywhere in the planet. When you’re listening to music as good as this, location becomes secondary. The only thing that matters is the bludgeoning force of the music.