Almost six years ago the Indian extreme metal band Gutslit released their eye-opening second album Amputheatre, and now we’re on the eve of release of their third album Carnal. As we did roughly six years ago for Amputheatre, today we’re hosting a premiere for the new album by these brutal death/grind marauders, but this time it’s the whole record you’ll have a chance to hear, all eight neck-wrecking and eviscerating tracks —
Carnal is the name of the new full-length, and as the band explain, it “explores the intricate struggles of the human psyche and the conflict between good and evil,” and features tracks that draw inspiration from infamous serial killers, offering a unique perspective on the human experience”. Carnal also marks the return of Aditya Barve (Skewered in the Sewer) on vocals and features guest vocals by Benighted‘s Julien Truchan on the track “Bind Torture Kill.”
The serial-killer themes within the album explosively emerge in its opening track, “Son of Sam“, obviously named for the killer who terrorized New Yorkers in 1977 and left six dead and seven others wounded. (Never mind that bloodbaths like that seem to happen en masse in the U.S. now on a weekly basis.) And hell yes, the song is a killer, one that provides a decimating introduction to the lethal talents on display within Carnal.
Those qualities include pulverizing low-end belligerence, drumming that goes off like mortar fire, fleet-fingered fretwork frenzies that sound viciously demented, and the kind of rabid howls that sound like they’re coming straight for your throat.
“Son of Sam” is a no-doubt bludgeoner, slugging hard with cold brutality, but the band also punch the accelerator, serving up machine-gun snare-work and even faster riffing. The guitars writhe and roil, convulsing in demented spasms and voraciously swarming, while the vocals erupt in screams that do their part to underscore the evil madness within the music. Before they’re done, Gutslit also deliver the kind of convulsive jackhammer grooves that gets heads moving hard.
Without sacrificing the jarring, brute-force impact of their music, Gutslit electrify it with technically impressive twists and turns, switching the tempo and the rhythmic and riffing patterns in ways that are sharply executed and will keep listeners on their toes. That proficiency comes through right from the start with “Son of Sam”, and it’s also quickly evident that the sound production hit a sweet spot for this kind of music, delivering clarity but without sacrificing bone-smashing power.
What “Son of Sam” quickly demonstrated is reinforced in the next seven songs. Over and over again Gutslit explode in raging storms of destructive violence, inflicting warzone campaigns of battering and bombing drum-and-bass work, dazzling the ears with insectile guitar maneuvers, and continuing to spew out deranged vocals that manage to keep up with the often eye-popping speed of the instrumentalists.
Sometimes the howling, serrated-edge vocals are doubled for extra lunacy, sometimes they descend into cold-hearted guttural bellowing, sometimes they sound strangled or explode in gang yells, and Julien Truchan brings in the breeeee in that song where he makes a guest appearance.
Gutslit also do other things to keep the songs from congealing into a mass of sameness (though honestly, there’s no chance of music this punishing and ferocious to congeal), weaving in wisps of melody that channel feelings of fear, horror, agony, disease, and despair — and there’s an extended guitar solo lying in wait within “Body Snatcher” that’s so weird and wondrous it makes that song a stand-out all by itself, plus some unexpected electronic weirdness in the album closer.
But at its core, what makes Carnal such high-powered adrenaline fuel is the mix of blistering instrumental pyrotechnics, macabre and monstrous vocalizations, and ruthless, pavement-fracturing grooves. They’ve got a big arsenal of high-powered munitions at hand, circle saws ready and waiting to be spun up to eviscerating speed, and a phalanx of jackhammers and pile-drivers that would make demolition companies envious — and they make full and fanatical use of all those weapons.
The album’s closing track is named “Primeval“, and in some ways you could put that label on the whole album. The songs are so brutish that they lock in with the kind of primitive movement-inducing reflexes that seem lodged in our reptile brains and so horrific in the vocal department that they run on nightmare fuel, yet on the other end of the evolutionary continuum, the music’s turn-on-a-dime variations and technical flourishes make it head-spinning too.
The last time we wrote about Gutslit six years ago we ventured the observation that they were the kind of band that would probably be household names around the globe if they were based in the West, surrounded by bigger audiences for their kind of music and making it much easier to tour. Carnal reinforces those feelings. It’s so damned good at what it does that it deserves attention, and hopefully it will get it.
Aaron Pinto – Drums
Gurdip Singh Narang – Bass
Prateek Rajagopal – Guitars
Aditya Barve – Vocals
Carnal was produced by Gutslit and was mixed and mastered by Mark Lewis (The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel) and produced by Prateek Rajagopal (The Book of Boba Fett, Creed 3), with artwork by Kidsquidy.
Gutslit will celebrate the release of Carnal with a performance at Obscene Extreme 2023 on July 7th, which coincides with the album’s official release date. Currently, the group are concluding the Carnal Indian Tour, which has run throughout June and early July.