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A title generally provides some hints on the actual content and when you take a look at Jute Gyte’s Old Ways release and take into consideration that this would be one of their black metal ones, then ‘the’ idea behind it becomes somehow obvious. Yet are the expectations met? Are those old ways really walked upon? Let us see …
Those three terms used for the description of the art are important to give at least a small indication on the performance of the band. With some obvious hints on the black metal side of Gnaw Their Tongues, Jute Gyte explores an extreme form of music, which is not too common. Distorted guitars, harsh screams and monotonous rhythms make up the basic oeuvre and they appear in varying degree and style over the course of the album. So, while the basic concept of the Dutch band was copied in some respect, there is nevertheless some form of limitation when it comes to the facets of the art. Old Ways appears in a more controlled and focused manner and therefore also in a less variety of genres or influences. There are no samples, there are no aggressive switches in tempo … the music is noisy and extreme but kept in a certain narrow corridor. Facets appear in a variety of ways, but the focus is kept on the metal side and what can be achieved by using a guitar. Weird samples and atmospheres are rather the exception and as the drums were made with a machine, a surprising level of limitation can be found here. Again, compared with the other earlier mentioned band, the listener experiences a flow of distorted sound, whose arrangements are rather calm and hardly ‘offensive’. Where is the emotion, where is the tendency to grab the listener and take this person on a trip this person has never been on before?
Track 4 – Interlude – falls it bit out of the flow and comes with an interesting type of sound: the one of a Theremin, but here created with a guitar and not with the original instrument. Nevertheless, this weird oscillating noises are a stark contrast to the general style of the band and it would be nice to see this particular style appear on an even larger scale.
Track 6 – Snail – would be another ‘non-metal’ track, one that would not follow the dominant style on this album. Again, no transitions, again a rather disruptive character and again a sound a listener might hardly expect. Here, dissonance and a lack of harmony play an important role and they give you the idea of patiently watching a snail crawling on its way. You might get mad, due to the slow movements of this animal, you might loose some of your sanity. Once ‘Snail’ is over, some sort of depressive black metal inspired noise stuff turns in again … the same concept as before, but now presented in a somehow melancholic or sad style.
What are you left with at the end? Jute Gyte’s art is an ambiguous and by no means a convincing performance. What is the band’s style? What is it they wanted to express? Confusion … confusion at a large scale is what remains. Not only the shallowness and tiring kind of the music strains the patience of the listener or the lack of a clear direction, it is foremost the messed up way in which the tracks had been arranged. While the opening comes with a clear progression as well as escalation of intensity – Waves → Teeth –, those weird switches to and fro with which the listener is confronted later, leaves this person astounded about what is actually going on there. To have one break is already a difficult task to deal with, but to have two of these makes it nearly impossible to create some amount of density and consistency in the music. Old Ways is a fitting title. It gives the impression of something done to death, bereft of life, eaten once before and tiring at most. Jute Gyte is a one-man-band and you can hear it on this release. All the fallacies, all the short-comings lie open here.
Interlude (second part), Teeth
Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 7)’: