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ALBUM REVIEW: Age of the Fanatics – Gutter Instinct

Swedish death metal band GUTTER INSTINCT’s debut full-length album Age of the Fanatics is without a doubt going to be the decider in whether or not they will meet the expectations of the ever-growing masses of death metal fans and be able to make their mark in a genre which is rapidly dominating the metal scene. Their debut EP The Insurrection, was full of dark brutality to say the least, it is up to Age of the Fanatics to carry the throne with that.

The second the album begins with Leper Beholder, you can definitely hear the blackened sounds that cascade into bringing out a full force of blast beats, fast riffs and skull-crushing vocals. For an opening track, it is heavy and it is pretty gruesome to say the least. It definitely shows that they are angry about what they are creating music about, organized religion, political corruption and much more. To be able to exploit all of that hate throughout just the first song is skilled, but perhaps has left a little less room for surprise throughout the rest of the album.

When the title-track Age of the Fanatics jumps in, all reasons to believe that there the room for surprise was lessened gets thrown out of the window completely. The riffs are enough to hit you in the gut repeatedly and still leave you craving more, and the guttural vocals of Thomas E. are somewhat so powerful, not just in vocal capabilities but the ability to force you to listen as the rawness of the darkness surrounds you. This definitely continues as the album continues, in fact as the album goes on, the darker it becomes and the influences from black metal music especially pour out.

Black metal often plays an integral influence to some of the biggest death metal bands to date and can be infused with the music effortlessly but without leaving a trace of it behind, these guys have brought it to the table, laid it out flat and made it become a dominating area of their sound, being demonstrated in a unique and clever way.

One of the most favoured things about Age of the Fanatics is that no matter what approach it takes in each song, be it straight up death metal or the infusion of black metal with death, it is just completely and utterly heart-ripping. Even as GUTTER INSTINCT take a slower approach away from the gut-wrenching fastness on An Ending in Fire, they have managed to create a stable and solid foundation to still keep it as dark as possible. It is definitely one of those tracks that makes you almost feel as though you’re absolutely infuriated with everything that the band are, but also like you don’t care at all. To be able to execute that, even in just one song is something of a spectacular creation.

It is without a doubt that start to finish on Age of the Fanatics is dark and it is brutal in the best way possible. For a debut full-length release, GUTTER INSTINCT are definitely on their way to making a mark in the realms of death metal and the fact that they sound so sincerely angry about everything their lyrical content is about only enforces that they have the passion to keep the style they have so raw. There could be some improvements to the overall sound, but even then they are minor and down to production qualities and perhaps making their sound just a little tighter but overall, for a debut release, Age of the Fanatics is one for the books and one for fans of seeking out new bands that like to keep everything as brutal and as dark as possible. This is death metal, this is raw and this is downright as furious and as fast as it should be.

Rating: 9/10

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Age of the Fanatics is set for release on May 27 via Prosthetic Records

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Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.