“Welcome to Fucktown” – as far as track names go, the lasting impression Gutlocker want to leave on the listener is not a particularly pleasant one. Indeed, throughout Cry Havoc! they give dirty riff after dirty riff with some not-so-nice accompanying lyrics. The band cite Lamb of God and Pantera as influences and, due to its aggression factor, it is easy to see why. Unfortunately, as is often the case with name-checking such well-respected acts, Gutlocker’s new EP is not on the level of either.
Let’s start with the lovely title of the EP’s closer. “Welcome to Fucktown” is a basic track. The lyrics are simple, angry and repetitive; for a large portion of the track, we hear its name repeated ad nauseam. The vocal delivery is mostly solid, with exception to the out-of-place clean, gang vocals as heard in the cringe-worthy three-quarter mark in “Stuck”, which drops the F-bomb rather a lot. There is an element of Randy Blythe’s expert harsh vocals here, particularly in the higher register of screams. This carries through to the music – there is a Southern metal zest throughout the EP in its riffs – the above-mentioned Pantera meets Lamb of God, with a little bit of thrash and sludge thrown in for good measure.
It’s an odd combination that, despite a few good moments, never quite gels. “No Burden”, for example, opens with a solid sludge-inspired riff, but then the writing becomes something unkempt, rolling into a dull thrash piece that ultimately ends up in shoddy clean vocals. “Bitter Memory”, meanwhile, sticks to its heavy, early death metal-esque guns throughout. There is an impression throughout Cry Havoc! that Gutlocker aren’t comfortable in their own skin; that is, they don’t quite know whether to step fully into thrash, sludge or the Southern-fried stylings of Pantera.
There are plenty of interesting ideas in Cry Havoc!, but sloppy execution, repetitive lyrics and an unwillingness to stick to one sound holds them back. Sure, the elements of the aforementioned bands, early death metal, and sludge stylings all sound decent by themselves, but the mixing of the lot is ineffective. Gutlocker have something about them; they just need to figure out what direction they should head in.
Cry Havoc! Track Listing:
01. Bitter Memory
02. No Burden
04. Welcome to Fucktown
Run Time: 17:08
Release Date: April 20, 2018
Don’t agree with us? Give “Welcome to Fucktown” a try.