Their début EP The Insurrection was a brief blast of authentic Swedish death metal, complete with chainsaw guitars, bestial vocals and brutal delivery. As I asked at the time; what’s not to like here?
So, onto their full-length release, Age of the Fanatics. Well, the band have progressed on from what they started on their EP; now they have actually incorporated a blackened edge into their sound, which has allowed them to progress into, what is for most bands, relatively uncharted waters. Blackened Swedish death metal is not something you hear every day, so, quite frankly, I’m foaming at the mouth listening to this at the moment. The chainsaw delivery of the Swedish style with a darker, atmospheric tone? Hell yeah!
This was not what I was expecting from the release, and it paints the band in an entirely new light for me. A light that’s sickly, evil and full of grim delights.
The singer’s dark, gruff vocals anchor the music to its brutal centre, despite what occult excesses it attempts to get up to. This core of brutality is merely enhanced by the darker, blackened aspects of the band’s sound, and all of this is accentuated by the production, which is primitive and raw in all the right ways.
The album cover spoke to me of great things before I’d even pressed play, and also, when comparing it to the artwork from their début EP, made me expect some change of style in some capacity. I have not been disappointed on both counts; this is an exceptionally satisfying album in more ways than one. No matter how much I love the Swedish death metal style, (and I really, really do), I’m aware it’s quite a stale one in some regards, with not a lot of new stuff going on. Due to this, Gutter instinct’s incorporation of black metal elements into their signature sound is somewhat of a revelation. It adds an entire other level to their already compelling music, and Age of the Fanatics is an album which I’ll be happily spinning for some considerable time to come.
Very, very highly recommended. Basically, just go and listen to it. Now.