London-based metal bastards Gurt return for their third proper full length LP. Alongside a few splits and a few EPs, they band have continued to punish eardrums and amygdalas with a bombastic, turbocharged version of sludge/doom. It sounds like ‘jumbo shrimp,’ but it works. Here on Bongs of Praise, they churn up ten vicious tracks via When Planets Collide Records.
Doom and sludge weapons are still drawn on the intro utilizing a favorite trope of sludge as the heavy riffs blend into hazy tones merged with an old sample of puritanical warnings of the dangers of the drug in which the music implores you to indulge. Then, the second track boasts its rocking, rowdy tempos and chunky riffs with scowling vocals.
Speed is a choice which Gurt use that will surprise most sludge fans. Clouded misery and a cough-inducing miasma still appear and are woven expertly into each track, but the boys are not afraid to charge forward. Certainly, we receive tough-ass sludge/doom at times, making sounds feel mountainous. Specifically it is quite a trek ascending the gargantuan riffs and rhythms of “Rolling Stoned.”
Bongs of Praise has the attributes of sludge and doom; the pummeling drums and thick churned riffs, the demonic growls, but the beat and aggression is faster and honed. Still, never does Gurt lay back and ride the wave. They create a dirty wake in which the listener is enveloped. A faster paced version of sludge is provided here.
The lyrics are funny and tongue-in-cheek à la Weedeater. So, do not take them too seriously. But, the musicianship, passion and arduous tracks are in fact serious. Song titles like “Weed ‘em and Weep,” “Rolling Stoned,” “One Hit Wonder,” “The Joint of No Return,” and “Jazz Cabbage” quickly imply the intended voyage. Sardonic lyrics and witty repose contrast the stark tones and stellar.
Metallic charges and upbeat tempos soon overcome the mission. “One Hit Wonder” starts slow and boosts into a Motorcharge, hardcore feel, even a nasty choral breakdown. But, despite the speed, we cling to this roller-coaster for six minutes. And some sonic teases are employed to pan in our lifted ears. “Jazz Cabbage” is just a visceral pounding with vocalist emitting haunting howls, no discernible lyrics.
Bongs of Praise is a brilliant melding of influences while deceptively favoring one genre’s attributes—but then turning expectations upside down. Appreciate the tools here of great riffs and hissing vocals, but soak in the speed and brutality as well.