Gnaw – Cutting Pieces (Review)

GnawThis is the third album from US experimental doom band Gnaw.

Featuring the inimitable vocals of the singer that graced Khanate with his serrated, searing voice, 2013’s Horrible Chamber was a must-listen record as soon as I knew it was available. It’s been a long four years, but now we finally have the follow up in Cutting Pieces.

This is around 45 minutes of experimental doom, taking in a wide variety of sounds, textures, and dark feelings. Ranging from skin-crawling tensions to abrasive harsh noise, sometimes within the space of only a few seconds, Cutting Pieces roams far and wide in its search for esoteric underground sounds. When it finds them, it consumes them and incorporates them into its unsettling body, ready to spew them out, mangled and incomprehensible, at any listener who thinks they have the stamina to stomach this twisted aural assault.

This is an album of sonic and psychic torments. Coming across like an urbanised nightmare of Hellish industrialised proportions, Gnaw have mutated, warped, and corrupted their already unusual and atypical sound into something even more extreme than previously.

Full of experimental sounds and instruments, Cutting Pieces is experimental and forward-thinking in some of the best ways, but it accomplishes this without ever losing its sense of underground extremity or misanthropic allure.

The music is multifaceted and highly varied, pulling in multiple influences and styles that are smashed together so that the final result doesn’t really sound too much like anyone else. The exact same sentence can also be applied to their singer’s highly charismatic and downright demented voice. In some ways he’s the star of the show, but in many he’s just yet another non-standard instrument to be wielded by the band like a strange weapon. I can’t help but love his voice.

This is a terrifying album to lose yourself in, one that I highly recommend for anyone that’s bored with the mundane, and wants to explore darker, more unusual territories. Chock full of weight, substance, and depth, Cutting Pieces is a first-rate example of how to produce compelling music without copying anyone else’s style.

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