Review: Gutter Instinct – The Insurrection

Brutal death metal is one of this decade’s most dominant styles of metal. Many bands own the scene with great success and innovation, while others simply add nothing new to a bloated genre. Gutter Instinct is the latter.

At just four tracks tallying up just under 20 minutes, Gutter Instinct’s debut on Prosthetic Records is solid as far as content goes for an EP. Originally released as a 12” vinyl, ‘The Insurrection’ is about 18 minutes of brutal death metal that lacks any semblance innovation and very little soul. In fact, if one were to listen to all four songs in sequence they would likely have trouble figuring out where one song ends and the other begins. The reason for this flaw is the fact that there is little change in the structure throughout the entire extended play.

Throughout the album there are two constants, the vocals of Thomas Ernemyr and the rhythm guitar of Hannes Hellman. Both deliver the brutality required of this style music, while Oscar Persson’s lead guitar provides just enough harmony and variety to give the music a touch of character. Unfortunately, little changes with these three elements across the entire EP. The only redeeming factor is the drum and bass work of Ola Håkansson and Simon Isakssn, for although their work does stick to a routine for much of the EP, they each switch up their playing just enough to break the monotony.

While certainly a heavy effort, ‘Insurrection’ is far from a masterpiece. The lyrical content touches on the same tired themes of religion and social commentary that have been common in the scene for decades now, and does little to lend the band character, while the lead guitar is too reminiscent of early Amon Amarth. However, biggest issues come from an overly simplistic and unadventurous rhythm guitar and vocals that rely too much on simple growls and groans. Hopefully their debut full length album will bring something new to the table, for there is certainly a great deal of potential in Gutter Instinct. It’s just going to take some time for the band to hone their sound before they stand out from the pack. 5/10

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