Burning Desire to Draw Last Breath is the belligerent new 7” by Gulch, out on Creator Destructor. This Santa Cruz band had only self-released a three-track demo prior. Now they present six tracks mixed and recorded by Charles Toshio Carver at Panda studios in Cali. The album was then brought to life through Brad Boatright’s magic fingers.
Dark, electro, and noise beat teases to set the unsettling atmosphere of the confrontational record. The album’s first true track, “Flesh Pursuit,” starts with a spastic grind drum beat. As it opens–blazing speed and guitar feedback. Then, Gulch move into a more d-beat punk beat, but open and challenging. The track grips your neck and swings into a two-step fury. Gulch slays with their hybrid of caustic power violence/grindcore 4/4 stomp enters with vomitous vocals. The title track definitely induces head nods and circle pits.
Gulch employs gripping guitar work that wretches out ugly songs. The gnarly offerings are extremely well-produced. All elements are clear, or as clear as intended. On the title track, a slow, sludge part for the last ten seconds of the under-two-minute song is welcome to add a little variety. This melds into the opening of “RSA” which echoes that tempo. The middle of the album is a little beefier and with more substance, as tracks three through five are about three minutes. The music is chunky and crisp and still ugly. “RSA” is definitely my favorite, as it has the hardcore punk rhythms more than the others, along with a two-step part, and a little more danceable. There’s also a killer breakdown, which gives us something nasty to grab onto. Beastly, sludge-driven.
The drummer is commanding; changing tempos throughout. The time changes that permeate the album help add variety and are engaging. Guitar is solid with a heavy presence, excellent production (again). “EPTS” is proof of that. The song is a fast joint that almost has notes and snares and toms and demonic vocals all just pig piling on top of each other. The stage dives must be like fireworks when this goes live. Gulch again slow it down for a meaty texture on the second half of the song.
Even though I am going to list some RIYL bands–grindcore/powerviolence/hardcore–Gulch definitely stands out. They are writing unique tracks. I mean, they aren’t redefining anything; this isn’t prog-core. But I can’t strictly say, “Oh yeah, they sound like Phobia or Despise You.” I think their drum beats, charging forward while not persistent as blast beats– help me revel in it (coming more from hardcore) and keep them from sounding generic. The damn production is so perfect. And (especially in the last track, “Gruel for the Beast”) the damn tempo changes and variety help elevate this monster. Just give us more next time! Hell of a record.
RIYL: Regional Justice Center, Looking For An Answer, Magrudergrind, Baptists, Call Of The Void, The Brood (Give Praise Records), Hatred Surge