I know this may sound crazy, but this is a Southern Lord release. And it’s crusty hardcore. (insert the sound of an audience gasping)
never sent you that hoodie you ordered.
All unduly snotty silliness aside, Gust fits snugly within the crustcore/d-beat market that Southern Lord has very thoroughly cornered in the last half-decade or so. Nevertheless, while not terribly original in scope, their attack is certainly potent in execution, and therein lies what really matters. This self-titled effort is Gust’s second, after the 2012 release of the succintly titled Fuck Life, and it’s their inaugural release for Southern Lord.
Questionable title aside, Fuck Life was a respectably riffy blast of metallic hardcore, mostly within the box but with subtle hints of a progressive (by punk standards), at times almost post-y expansionist ideal that put Gust somewhere a step past trad-crusty types like Wolfbrigade and further toward the envelope-pushing heft of Nux Vomica and such. This follow-up is the next step, very little different in overall scope, and equally punchy and punishing.
It’s mildly ironic then that a hardcore band on a label now infamous for an onslaught of bands only marginally different should open with a one-two punch titled “History Repeats” and “Always The Same,” but there they are, and at least the latter is one of the best tracks on Gust. The tandem of it and the groovy-great “Reality Chokes” is savage, with the main riff in “Reality” easily among the strongest and most metallic on the whole album. Most of Gust is rooted very firmly in hardcore, but it’s those unsurprising (but always welcome) flirtations with metal that stand out – witness the flying kick-drums in “From Cradle To Grave,” or the killer TG Warrior-ish “UHHHHNG” + Frost riff combination that ends the stellar “Hollow Faces.”
Recorded at Fvck Life studios (see a theme here?), Gust’s production is strong; the guitars are thick-toned and stout, the drums hit hard, and the bass tone is wonderfully gnarly, distorted and biting. The vocals are intelligible, for the most part – the lyrics raging against the expected socio-political wrongs and so forth. A guest vocal spot by mastering engineer and From Ashes Rise mainstay Brad Boatright provides a different shade of scream, helping push “Humility In Disguise” to a new level.
There’s really nothing on Gust that you don’t expect – but that’s certainly no indication of a lack of quality. Those listeners tired of the crusty ‘core trend will find no surprises here, nothing to re-ignite any fires gone cold, but those for whom a riff-solid kick of hardcore violence still stirs emotion will enjoy this newest entry into the fray. It’s angry; it’s heavy; and it rocks. And sometimes that’s enough.