A horrible hack

Gulch

Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress

Year Released: 2020
Format: Download
Label: Closed Casket Activities
 
Reviewed by Alex Deller on Sep 13, 2020
Gulch (almost) surprise-dropping this brief blast of hate caused a relatively niche internet furore, with a swathe of metal's more vociferous operators losing both their shit and their sense of proportion for a day or so. Cue a series of rhapsodic reviews waxing lyrical about the resale value of the band's merch before the dust settled and the next day's Hugely Important, Hugely Significant Thing caused the same people to flip their collective lids in much the same way.

So here, with some time gone by, a few more listens and a bit more perspective, is the deal: Gulch are a good band. Sometimes, actually, a very good band. Their metalcore is lean, extreme and bitterly virulent, and effortlessly merges the murderous attack of Torch Runner with the splenetic wiriness of Retox and the blank-eyed thump of Kruelty. It's a definite levelling up of sound, style and vision, and it's handsomely sleeved in some genuinely stunning Boone Naka artwork that I would just love to have glowering down at me from my living room wall. But are they some kind of lava-vomiting, city-flattening second coming that condenses the best of Victory Records '98 and leaves the world desolate in its wake? Nah, mate.

While that's about the long and short of it, the hubbub has kind of got me thinking. The record, I believe, dropped the same day as Taylor Swift’s 'Folklore'. Obviously there aren't too many sonic parallels to draw, but there is a funny link in terms of what bulging hype and the need to be instantly opinionated means in terms of taste-making. With no time to absorb or reflect, peoples' first ludicrous reactions quickly become established truths. These quick-to-form, quick-to-set opinions then beget further variations on a theme, until a big, unwieldy chunk of the internet is parroting the same silly things that a handful of bullshit artists concocted on the fly just because they figured they had to say something before other people said something. So, all of a sudden, a good-to-very-good metalcore record becomes a towering, unimpeachable monument to human achievement just because a download wasn't emailed out two months before the record's release. None of this, of course, has any sort of bearing on Gulch or the calibre their work, but by golly doesn't it show how very silly the internet has made us. Silly!


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