Gawthrop’s New Record Delivers Thrilling Blackened Sludge Metal From South Korea

Observers feel barely ready for the ruthless blackened sludge metal menace of Gawthrop. On January 31, the U.K.-based Cursed Monk Records will be unleashing a new version of the South Korean band’s debut self-titled demo upon the world. (This new release includes a new fourth track.) The songs feel ominously physically massive, like each thick riff and cacophonous drum rhythm represent a huge and dangerous boulder erratically and dangerously rolling out. Significant portions of these songs prove slow and steady, but they’re always absolutely devastating. As the menace repeats and the tension builds up, the band don’t just feel like they’re delivering open-ended psychological disorientation. Rather, they’re blowing up new spaces and packing in reverberating mentally wrecking tension, which is topped off with a fitting demented flourish via the methodically growled vocals that call straightforward death metal brutality to mind.

No matter the reference points, those vocals, the maniacal riffs, and these songs overall pack an extra massive flair of unique torment. Everything sounds like it’s been sent through a blender. The components feel drenched in swaggering feedback and low-end power that really focus this musical attack. Black metal grandiosity, physically ripping death metal feels, and even solo-worthy heavy metal riffing all make an appearance — but it’s all filtered through the methodical, filth-drenched, but ultimately unifying performances that feel like the emergence of some kind of beast from the shadows of a volatile big city.

The band describe their music as emerging from the gutters of Seoul (which is South Korea’s capital city), and the description really fits perfectly. Their songs come together thrillingly.

The deranged, beastly menace in the songs includes an especially gripping, swaggering low end through track two that even ends up feeling catchy. That sounds wild to say, but the feel really well represents the confident extremes that this band have launched off to. Their music’s slow but steady hits feel like smashing into a wall over and over until they’ve ground a hole right through you. “Breakthrough” moments, like when the riffs kick in on track three after a brief intro, feel like a flamethrower getting turned on pointed at you thanks to the ragged, sweeping physical fury. Gawthrop is a glorious cacophony.

5/5 Stars

Check out some of the music below, and click through for pre-orders!