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Review Originally published at http://www.teethofthedivine.com by Erik Thomas
Who knew such a calamitous, primal and experimental noise resided in the very depths of Southwestern Missouri, and that such a sickly, harsh example of cracking, fuzzed out, lo fi misanthropy is the brain child of a polite, unassuming twenty something college student named Adam Kalmbach?
This is one of those releases that’s sure to polarize black metal fans. On the one side the brittle, atonal buzzing experimental noise and tortured shrieks will be touted as pure noise with little or no musical value. On the other side, for the purpose of pure, unadulterated tortured sonic nihilism, Jute Gyte’s industrial tones and discordant throes are the perfect delivery for utter devastation.
With the obvious undercurrent culling from notable one man black metal acts like Burzum, Leviathan, Xasthur and such, Jute Gyte has given the droning, rangy ambient basement black metal a truly sickly mechanical sheen, some might point to early Anaal Nathrakh for sheer, ear violating boundaries of aural violence but slowed down to a mechanical plod injected with missed with the harsh programming and experimental noise of Aluk Tolodo, Black Vomit and Diagnose: Lebensgefahr. It’s to the point where it’s almost unlistenable- again a factor that will divide fans. Personally, the grating, fuzzed out guitar tone and the menacing pace mixed with the screams, programming and even a couple of mechanically serene mandolin interludes made for a disturbingly hypnotic experience, though one I’m not likely to revisit often.
At times, the 7 tracks and 62 minutes that comprise Old Ways is a test of perseverance as the discordant guitars buzz and screech with plodding, marching gait with the occasional blast beat and the continually screeched vocals. The feedback drenched likes of “Teeth”, “Round”, “Peace” and the 18-minute “Death” will beat you into submission like you were listening to Burzum in an old foundry works grinding, and shuddering with metal on metal grating and gnashing of vast gears and sparks flying in the blackness. And the thing is -there are some well done, dissonant riffs tucked away behind the noise as the later stages of “Teeth” and “Death” delivers some creepy, menacing lurches. However, on “Interlude” and “Snail” there is a welcome break to the draining cacophony by way of some mandolin plucking, that while a welcome respite, seem a bit out of place, though still somewhat discordant and “Snail” is vocally draining.
Jute Gyte will be a love it or hate it band, as are most on the genre, but for you sonic masochists out there, Old Ways will provide an hour or so of stripped down, torturous extremity that’s one of the better and more caustic, disturbing and unsettling one man basement black metal efforts I’ve heard of late. That all being said, I should also mention that this release ships in a DVD style case, – a minor annoyance for CDs storage -o-phobes like me.
I hope someone at Moribund Records is reading this…