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Unsubstitutable - 85%

MikeyC, February 10th, 2018

A name that has become familiar throughout the avant-garde scene, Jute Gyte return for what feels like his 39th studio album. Okay, it’s officially album number 27, which isn’t actually too far off the mark for a number I wanted to be a total exaggeration. Over the course of Jute Gyte’s career, which is really just the musings of a single man, Adam Kalmbach, the addition of microtonal keys has become a standard feature rather than a custom, and, for better or worse, they have shaped the type of music that this one-man band enjoys. The music is often seemingly slapstick – like it feels broken, only to have some kind of stabiliser, whether that be a riff or a quiet section or whatever. Some love it, some hate it. I like it, but it depends on the album, because I like Jute Gyte a lot more when it’s slowed down and played at a more respectable pace. Such is why I enjoy an album like Ship of Theseus more than Ressentiment. And on album #27, Oviri is a great blend of both styles, while adding in more noise/experimental aspects to the sound.

To clarify, what you’re getting here isn’t too different from what you know over the past dozen or so albums, but on Oviri, there seems to be a stronger fixation on the noise aspect. Plenty of times throughout this album, you’ll find that the music will stop and there will be some weird musical shift. As terrible as this sounds on paper, Jute Gyte manage to pull this off really well. It’s actually weird how well this works, since a complete stifling of volition can agitate the listener, but here it works because you’re expecting some weird shit to happen. From the wispy clean guitar noise of “Democritus Laughing,” to the evil sampling of “The Norms That Author the Self Render the Self Substitutable,” to the entirety of “Oviri,” they all portray a vastly different mood, and this versatility becomes very much welcome as you progress through Adam Kalmbach’s brain. Personally I find these avant-garde noise breaks to be a welcome addition to his sound, and it provides a great reprieve from the insanity elsewhere.

The adding of noise elements doesn’t mean there has been a compromise on his usual microtonal riffing. Far from it, because smattered around this journey are riffs to enjoy. I won’t pretend to know anything about the tablature or theoretical meaning behind the employed riffs beyond what he gives away on his Bandcamp page, but there’s plenty of intricate and excellent guitar work here, defying the tedium he is wont to feel after going around for the 27th time. “Yarinareth, Yarinareth, Yarinareth” contains a lovely melodic riff that not only brings a sense of normalcy to the song, but also punctuates the diversity of his style. It conveys that not everything needs to be grating or inaccessible (even though it still very much is). I like the fact that Oviri isn’t a total blur, because otherwise you would miss some of his great riffing style, and the melodic undertones to the black metal would be lost in the melee. That would be a real shame to miss perhaps the greatest riff on the album, too – the melodic clean guitar that ends “Fauna of Mirrors.” After coming in on its own, it’s added to the drum machine chaos and provides a wonderful end to perhaps the strongest track here. Further proof that Kalmbach hasn’t lost his spark or vision.

Vocals are his usual rasp that he has bellowed out throughout Jute Gyte’s lifespan. Showing no signs of oesophageal ageing, nor vocal boredom, he shrieks his lyrics out with as much passion and fire as he has ever had. However, to add to the additional noise factor utilised here, he uses a few other tricks. “Fauna of Mirrors” uses a warped vocoder at its beginning, backed by a more industrial black metal beat, to hammer home the point – that point being that this is another album not to be taken lightly. “Oviri,” being an entire noise song, also uses a vocal trick (assuming that’s Kalmbach) that sounds like a lot of reverb without the echo. Difficult to explain, but awesome to listen to.

Honestly, though, the main catch for Jute Gyte is the riffing, and that really hasn’t changed for Oviri. Fans of the band will probably enjoy this anyway, and find that this is a really nice continuation of his sound. Critics of the band are very unlikely to be swayed, since, uh, this is a continuation of his sound. For me, I like most of his more recent stuff, but Oviri stands tall for its bolder move into even more avant-garde and noise territory that wasn’t as fully explored on other material. The riffs are still golden, and I hope there’s no slowing down for this black metal contorted juggernaut.

Blut aus Bad - 25%

tomcat_ha, July 13th, 2017

Experimentation is a good thing in music generally speaking. Experimentation gave us guitar distortion, experimentation gave us death metal and experimentation also gave us gems in the underground that will never get widely appreciated like Neoandertals. However sometimes experimentation also produces things that are simply said shite. From the last Liturgy album, to Lulu and now a new entry on the list of failed experiments the new Jute Gyte album Oviri.

Oviri sounds super experimental at first glance but it is actually very simple to describe. Essentially Adam the dude behind the project loves Blut aus Nord. He loves them enough to start thinking “I can take what that band stands for but take it to the next limit by using all sorts of weird music theory and unusual guitar tunings!” He then writes riffs and guitar parts that we basically already have heard a billion times before by third rate bands but then he mangles these parts with whatever music theory and tuning he wants to experiment with. Essentially all these elements that make it sound weird hide the fact that the stuff that is going on is actually really lame. This album is basically the avant garde black metal counterpart to generic stoner/doom with a top notch guitar sound. It is just that something else is hiding the low quality of the guitar-work. I can count the actually worthwhile riffs and guitar parts on 1 hand. To make it even worse when there is a good riff half of the time at the same time you got this awful guitar noodling going on high on the fretboard.

The drum programming does not help either. A lot of the drum parts sound like Damien Storm keyboard drumming except played faster and without the charm. He also at times chooses some drum sounds that sound really dumb like the skipping CD pseudo hi-hat sound on track 2. While overall the drums sound pretty decent for drum programming sonically speaking. How they are played basically brings down a lot of the bad riffs and guitar parts even further.

There are some redeeming elements though. Half of the ambient parts and the last track are actually pretty cool and well done. I think Adam also made some records that are ambient and/or noise and I am actually willing to go look up these releases.

While this is the first Jute Gyte record I heard. I was aware of the nature of this project. However I was biased against this band because every time (in my experience at least) a band releases so many albums in such a short time period the records tend to lack horribly in worthwhile ideas. Apparently Adam takes years crafting these albums. He is still working on a lot of releases at the same time and this is definitely reflected in the quality of the music.

Yes there is some stuff you have to “get” in order to really listen to this album however instead of this album revealing itself to be a true masterpiece it reveals itself as a very mediocre work. However I do think that there is potential for the basic formula present on this record. The first/main riff on the 4th track sounds like demented Crowbar and that makes it really cool. Basically this means Adam needs to do is learn how to write normal good riffs first and then start looking at weird guitar tunings and outlandish music theory.