Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Gurchick Tree - Sadistic Reflections Of Blood (2011; MetamorphiK Records)

From the slummy underbelly of New Jersey that brought us the likes of Dripping and Digested Flesh comes newbies-with-a-weird-name The Gurchick Tree, delivering 6 songs and 2 creepy/fitting intros of extremely well-produced, professional slam with some interesting edges. The album starts with a sample, maybe a gang member/hitman claiming that he would go through Hell to kill those who anger him, leading into an intense slam bookended by blasting riff reverberations on the first track "Incised Cyst Autoerotism" which also features slow breakdowns containing Saprogenic-esque tremolo riffs which carry the song onwards through a very sinister and menacing mid-section. Though a short first track, at a little over a minute-and-a-half, it is a wonderful little glimpse into the disturbing, depraved and utterly sick world TGT unveil to us on this short, quaint demo.

"Realms of Dehumanization" reminds of Butcher the Weak-style Devourment, its charging slams overlapping constantly, building up and breaking down all throughout. An extremely-squealy pinch harmonic introduces a brutal slam with a somewhat chorus-like section, something that I wish was done more often in slam (slam breakdowns used as repeated choruses, that is). It returns again as expected, though in a new form; a trainwreck funeral slam which squarely bludgeons the listener with concussive force and macabre deliberation.

This band excels at writing charging slams that slow down with big drum breaks, which brings me to the drumming. This dude is phenomenal, his ride usage is impeccable and rivals even the bigger bands, pulling off technical drumming and smaller flavorful flourishes with ease. Sometimes this shit feels utterly unstoppable, like a supernatural force of sadistic brutality repeatedly crushing your pathetic, tiny brain in a vice of extremity. "Severed Head Sodomy" has an extremely great breakdown that almost reminds of brutal deathcore but stops short due to its reliance on pure slamming; only the way it is continued to its conclusion is "core"-like, but the band seem to quickly realize this and deviate from it in a way that is actually completely brilliant.

"[..]" is an off-kilter steel-string(?) acoustic track that rivals the best acoustic-creepy-intros in slam (Guttural Secrete and Awaiting the Autopsy have both used such juxtapositions to great effect, for example), its twanging leverage seeming always to border insanity and breakdown, as if the strings themselves will snap. A+ for effort here. The transition to "Inject the Morphine" (my personal favorite song title here, by the way) is less than stellar, but I can quickly look past it as the first 'verse' riff drives into a pseudo-slam-breakdown with excellent ride fills and snare blasts. The longest song by a few seconds, this one goes through some amusing changes, but it ceases entirely to be fun or lighthearted when, halfway through, an extreme slam with open chords left hanging is overlaid by a gruesomely brutal sample of what else but a woman being killed. Classy. The post-breakdown deviation is brilliant as well, quickly changing up into a guttural, slow sway until the abrupt yet satisfactory end.

"Desperately Dismembered" feature some blurry, odd riffs and an early breakdown that pretty much contains the definition of "dead air", its hung chords gasping for space, but it's so dead that it becomes alive and, actually, really incredible. I very rarely hear something so simple (the utter lack of notes; and not in the deathcore breakdown way!) done so well, and it's a very subtle but excellent addition (subtraction? I don't know, fuck it). The song's ending is, once again, too abrupt, seeming like it could easily go for a minute or two longer, perhaps by repeating some of the more piquant sections.

The last song, "Thy Flesh Consumed" pretty much features all the same tricks, though I do love the little tremolo-plus-double-bass flourishes in the first breakdown. I could easily see this band becoming the heir to the unsung Ezophagothomia demo, which, as those who are enlightened among us know, was probably (arguably) the world's first nearly-pure "funeral slam death" album. TGT know how to take a slam, slow it down, break it apart, reconstruct it, build meaningful songs around it, and then deconstruct the meaning just to be (awesome) dicks. It's music about being slam, it's self-aware and it's completely fucking badass. Go get it now and support these guys, because they deserve it and we should all be totally excited to see how they develop from here on out.


Anonymous said...

Jersey, represent! This is really good, thanks for posting it!!!

Anonymous said...

I saw these guys in Philly, The best band at that show. The CD just rocks hard.. Brutal Slam SJ style and it's great..

Anonymous said...

The name of the band comes from the death of a science teacher named mr. Gurchick who had a heart attack and hit a tree.

Anthony said...

thanks for your in-depth reviews. This is a great album and I am very much enjoying it!

Anonymous said...

These guys are like no other!! Live or on CD! great review!