Written by: AP on 09/01/2015 23:17:27

An abundance of crusty hardcore has been coming our way this past year, thanks in no small part to Southern Lord, whose roster has witnessed a surge of practitioners in that genre of late. Gust, from Sweden, is one such band, the dark melodies, crackling distortion and breathless screaming of their self-titled sophomore LP ticking all of the right boxes to edge their name next to the likes of Baptists, Martyrdöd and Obliterations. By way of their sound, Gust are only loosely connected to such acts, it must be said, but there in in their music that same nerve, that same burning energy, and the all important refusal to be just one thing.

It is always refreshing to discover artists who have a genuine interest in music, who aren't curbed by the imaginary boundaries of a genre. Crust, hardcore, metalcore and even touches of Scandinavian extreme metal all enjoy a presence on Gust's palette, and in embracing that variety, their music wholly avoids the common pitfall of crust hardcore upon the realisation that there is life beyond the fast and the furious. The first track proper, "Always the Same", thus comes across as a little underwhelming with its unhinged d-beat gallop and metallic powerchords - but those concerns are swiftly swept aside by the outstanding "Reality Chokes", a slower song incorporating without seams the ominous, freezing melodies of Norwegian black metal into its insistent march, and concluding with wails of esoteric solo notes not unlike Meshuggah's transmissions into space. The aptly titled "Unease", too, utilises a selection of unorthodox techniques like eerily quivering, muted tremolo picked above the guitar's bridge for a truly unique sound, with those aforementioned ringing 'shuggah notes ripping through the crescendo as well.

There isn't a hint of randomness to the ordering of the tracks here then, and in creating contrasts between the fast and slow, caustic and atmospheric; Gust have managed the feat of keeping the listener on his/her toes virtually at all times. As such, "Crack the Skies" may verge on the sort of futile pummel to which I allude earlier in this review, but its placement in the wake of two more explorative pieces lends it legitimacy, and in this track too, Gust understand the importance of mixing it up a bit with a slick bass solo halfway. Mind you, in "From Cradle to Grave" the album has one of its finest moments despite the track's heavy reliance on speed for effect: it is absolutely ferocious, with the unforgiving storm of double pedals near the end in particular leaving a fearsome impression.

Gust do, at times, find themselves in moments less engaging than that however, and with this self-titled effort barely scraping 30 minutes in running length, those lapses are all the more significant in terms of the overall experience. The quartet's talent and capabilities are plain for all to hear on tracks such as "No Concern, No Remorse", which enlists a flurry of ringing dissonance to force its point across, and the conclusive "Restless Hands", which soars into sample backed, progressive grandeur to end the album on a triumphant note. And that fact beckons the question, why isn't that ability constantly in evidence? Young band as they are though, their accomplishments here are as admirable as they are promising, and when all is said and done, "Gust" belongs in the upper echelons of resurgent crust hardcore, besting even some of the band's more prominent peers.

Download: Reality Chokes; Unease; From Cradle to Grave; No Concern, No Remorse;
For the fans of: No Omega, Oathbreaker, Rise and Fall
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.09.2014
Southern Lord

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI