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Soul Gutter - Veins - 94%

Edmund Sackbauer, September 11th, 2018

Hailing from a city with the unpronounceable (at least for Non-Scandinavian persons) name Jyväskylä located in the middle of Finland we got this pretty new and rising Death Metal combo. After a promising EP they have released their debut full-length album called “Veins”. What they offer here is a ferocious slab of face-melting and brutal music combining a style more akin to the US DM scene with typical Nordic trademark elements.

The riffing shows great variation consisting of slower and stoic sections and a bit faster and more straight-forward ones. Often the slightly hypnotic guitar sounds work as contrast to the very fast and intense drumming. Most of the chords have a very melancholic and dark vibe and are subtly varied throughout the song. Each song has its own trademark riffs that are slightly twisted but always act as a constant term. The solo and lead sections are woven into the tracks and act as bridge parts and additional layers more than disconnected standalone elements.

“Vein” is a very atmospheric album. There are several samples and effects building eerie and ambient soundscapes in the background. Generally speaking the way melodies and harmonic elements are used often reminds of Black Metal but the backbone is always rooted in quite traditional DM. The great vocals delivered by Heikki switching between standard growls and some higher-pitched and aggressive screaming sections underline this impression.

Although atmosphere is something the guys put a lot of emphasis on they did not forget to actually write good songs. All these elements and additional layers are great details but thankfully most tracks have a stringent structure with the riffs always occupying the center-stage. The music is not what I would call catchy but after 2 or 3 spins certain tracks and parts will stick with the listener.

The sound is very raw but has immense power. The guitar tone is crunchy and the bass is audible and offers a nice buzzing tone. The drums sound great and have this slightly steely tone that is just a bit harsher and more organic sounding than what can be found on most records these days. The overall mix is well balanced and sounds very professional to my ears.

This album has been an exciting listening experience. Not only is “Veins” a solid piece of blackened DM but Soul Gutter really managed to create an own and unique style making them stand out from the pack.