Welcome back to Death Metal Dossier, where Manny and Ryan scour graveyards, morgues, caverns, crypts, space, The Void™, various iterations of hell, and the internet in search of the best new demos death metal has to offer. For January, the fellas take a look at Mass Extinction, the debut offering from Melbourne, Australia’s Gutless.
Ryan: I’ll be honest here: I was completely sold within the first two minutes of hearing Mass Extinction. The way the divebomb comes flying out of the slow riff section of “Brutalized Into Submission” makes the stomach drop like a roller coaster car flying off the tracks and into a crowd of people enjoying a nice outing at Six Six Six Flags on Memorial Day. Of course, this impact wouldn’t carry the weight of the song on its own, so luckily Gutless bring the riffs to hold it all together, unlike the aforementioned amusement ride. In fact, they are masterfully welded together in a way that flows, instead of haphazardly stitching them together the way the paramedics are currently attempting with the dismembered body parts of the victims of the roller coaster incident. Across the park, the steady rhythm of drums plods beneath the infectious sounds of thick, gruesome guitar tone on “Evil Incarnate” as one of the attendees comes to the realization that all of the people in the Drippin’ Dots line need to meet his knife. The first stabs are curious as the drums pick up to a 1-2 beat. Our psychopath realizes his taste for violence is greater than that of the frozen treats and begins berserking to the blast beats that send the song into a wild frenzy.
Mass Extinction never loses brutality, and it is quickly obvious how ironic a name like Gutless is. The band is simply vomiting its guts out into the wave pool of Six Six Six Flags. And speaking of which, the water feels warmer than it should. Way warmer. In fact, it’s boiling hot. The flesh of the previously gleeful swimmers begins to melt off of their bones during “Boiled Alive,” a particularly groove-heavy track that really lets the already tight rhythm section lock in. The use of a breakdown feels organic, decomposing the song into rich, fertile human soil. All of the elements of the demo come together on “Carnivorous Flesh” like the ferris wheel at the center of the theme park. Riff and rhythm combine for a particularly battering assault, knocking the center bolt loose as the ferris wheel careens over the park with another divebomb solo. The destruction that follows leaves few, if any survivors, making Mass Extinction a particularly effective and impressive addition to the Death Metal Dossier.
Manny: A country that is experiencing global warming and climate change like no other, Australia is uniquely festooned with rotting deserts, corpses strewn throughout the Outback and some of the hottest temperatures on the planet, making it a unique and exciting place for the metals of death. In that regard, Gutless had me from the get. A white album cover with red typography you say? An ink and paper drawing that looks like it was done during an angry 4th period math class you say? A lot of factors are converging here to draw my interest and pique my elation. So, while Ryan was sold within the first two minutes, I was sold before I even heard it, which means I’m better than Ryan because I have better foresight (and no foreskin).
Mass Extinction is an absolute ripper. Perhaps a throat ripper. Like Swayze in Roadhouse going all “I used to fuck guys like you” levels of nuts and then ripping out the dude’s throat with a claw hand. What truly stands out is the drumming. Whether it’s syncopated snare slaps that punctuate and highlight the riffs on “Boiled Alive,” or the rolls and fills that sound lazy—as if they are shaking off a hangover—on “Carnivorous Flesh,” the rhythms employed by Gutless are sneakily infectious. It only takes a few beats to get that death metal groove dancing. And should you be unfortunate enough to have friends who “don’t like death metal,” please force “Boiled Alive” upon them and then challenge them to not feel the groove deep down in their internal or external ballsack.
It would be a brutal and mortal shame for you to not flag Gutless as an exciting band to watch and Mass Extinction as an EP to keep in mind come list season. But, assuming that you’re reading this article, it’s safe to say you’re already a moron. Thus, Ryan and I will perform some sacrifices to keep you safe in the afterlife since you’re soon to meet your maker.