Guhts – Regeneration
New Heavy Sounds
Release Date: 26/01/24
Running Time: 45:54
Review by Oli Gonzalez
Well, we’re almost halfway through the longest month of the year. I’m back into some semblance of normality, and getting my teeth stuck into some new music. In this case, “Regeneration”, the upcoming album for New York based post-metal act Guhts. A band beginning life as simply a passion project before becoming the principal creative focus for all its members. A band describing themselves as being an “avant-garde post-metal project, delivering larger than life sounds through deeply emotional music”. This is while citing Gojira, Cult Of Luna, Julie Christmas, and other bands leaning more towards the Progressive and Alternative end of the scale. To be truthful, I was a little sceptical and somewhat reluctant to check out another post-metal act. The subgenre is such a mix bag with some having the capacity to completely blow me away while others have bored me to tears. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many of the latter lately. However, I’ll be honest. After listening to “Regeneration”, or the opening track ‘White Noise’ more specifically, this scepticism was not justified at all as I was immediately hooked!
‘White Noise’ is definitely leaning more towards the Doom Metal end of the metal spectrum, and encapsulates the many things I love about this subgenre. In this case, fat riffs, huge sounds, and every note being fully optimised for maximal emotional output! Some of those solid grooves had me headbanging along in approval too, I confess. There’s a subtle Black Metal edge in there too, in particular with some sublime tremolo picked guitar riffs adding that ominous and spine-chilling quality.
Let’s talk about the vocals. What do you normally think of when you think of Doom? Either the anguished wailing in the style of Candlemass, or perhaps the lower growls you’d hear on an Ahab record? Well, vocalist Amber goes against all these stereotypes… and it’s fantastic. Try to imagine if Julie Christmas or Alanis Morrisette joined a Doom Metal band. This is probably the best comparison I can think of! On paper, it shouldn’t work. This is like visiting McDonalds and dipping your fries into a milkshake; it shouldn’t work but does (honestly try it)! Bizarre fast food analogies aside, Amber absolutely nails her vocal performance here, and to me offers something very unique and seldom heard in the doom metal sound.
With more tricks than a magician’s sleeve, Guhts continue to add to their sound throughout the record. ‘Til Death’ and ‘Handless Maiden’ demonstrate the introduction of electronic elements, while still sticking to that Soomy spine. Similarly, we get a more psychedelic style in ‘The Wounded Healer’ and thus further dimension to the band’s overall sound.
However, ‘The Mirror’ was one of the major highlights for me. Especially with some of those gorgeous blazing lead guitars throughout the song and the spine chilling haunting addition of the keys. Both are dripping with pure emotion and add a sublime gothic edge. While listening to this, I could sense tension building, as the pace gradually increased throughout. Increasing towards what is a delightful crescendo and outright explosion of energy towards the end. A crescendo certainly worth waiting for with the journey being equally as thrilling.
With this being said, ‘Generate’ was the one for me though. I came back to this one multiple times! Which says it all really. A much more melodic and uplifting affair, Amber’s voice is much more gentle and calm. We’re also lulled by some gentle guitar arpeggios designed to send you into momentary tranquillity. Honestly, I was expecting a horrid turn and dramatic twist here; to be ripped from this soothing dream-like trance and thrown into a waking nightmare! While the overall pace and dynamics gradually increase – as does the venom in Amber’s voice – it’s still very much an aesthetically pleasing experience and is the strongest song on the album for me.
To think “Regeneration” is the debut album for Guhts is equally exciting and terrifying. Exciting to think how much their unique sound could disrupt and change the industry, while also being terrifying to think how much their unique sound could disrupt and change the industry too! My earlier scepticism was, in hindsight, rather crazy now. This is simply a solid debut effort! While the post-metal vibes are honestly not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, I guarantee this will appeal to the Prog fans, Alternative music lovers, or simply those who want something deeper and different in their music.
01. White Noise
02. Til Death
03. The Mirror
04. Handless Maiden
05. Eyes Open
07. The Wounded Healer
Amber – Vocals
Scott – Guitars
Daniel – Bass
Brian – Drums
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