Nightmarish and severe, a devouring of the senses; that is blood feather, the debut EP from US outfit, GUHTS. It is a predacious tempest of sound and emotion, a trial of torment and atmospheric corrosion honed quite simply into one seriously and sadistically compelling incitements with an inherent raw beauty to match.
The band emerged during lockdown from the songwriting of Witchkiss guitarist Scott Prater who found a new and striking proposal rising up within his creativity. Quickly he recruited his wife and Witchkiss drummer Amber Burns on vocals as well as old friend Jesse Van Note of Bask and Black Mountain Hunger on bass, who in turn brought in his band mate from the latter, guitarist Dan Shaneyfelt to the growing proposal. Once complete, GUHTS came forth with a sound that challenges and corrupts but as we soon found equally seduces ears and imagination.
The band’s sound is said to embrace the inspirations of bands such as Cult Of Luna, Isis, Neurosis and Deftones, the latter maybe the richest influence in their music but there is also a gothic/post punk aspect to their ambience clad, post metal meets doom/sludge metal bred sound which resonates like an echo of the clamorous and dramatic prowess of Sex Gang Children. It is a fascinating and imposing mix which soon consumed attention as EP opener, Eyes Open, took its grip.
A controlled but manipulative rhythmic lure sets the track off, every beat incisively tempting. All the while sonic smog nears, subsequently enveloping but not defusing that rhythmic enslavement before just as quickly Burns’ tones invade the darkness now dominating and engrossing air and attention alike. Her cries and contemplations come afire with Valkyrie strength and siren-esque tempting while synths bring new shades and textures to the heart and depths of the track, their melodic weaves elegant but perilous with the song’s dextrous breath just as fiercely emotive within the exhaustive storm.
It is a stunning start to the release which the following Handless Maiden keenly continues; it’s opening and perpetual stride through ears imperious and compelling and the senses wrapping weaves of keys like banners in a battle. Like a warrior Burns is soon standing at the centre of the tumult, the raw rage of male throats aligning her skilled howls as every ounce of light is devoured in a debilitating, slowly devouring squall. As its predecessor, the track just mesmerised as it ravaged, an uneasy subservience and just as troubled addiction soon returned for its harrowing proposal.
The Mirror is arguably a kinder proposal, its breath and presence immediately suggestive and alarmingly dreamy whilst shimmering with melodic radiance and evocative intimation. From voice and synth to the more invasive strokes of guitars and tenebrific growl of bass, the song is a tempered affair but with a portentously troublesome nightmarish air to it all. There is also a Toyah like theatre to the song at times, a roar of drama which perfectly aligns the canvas of shadows and Tartarean intimation.
The EP closes out with The Forest, a ten minute quest through an atmospherically charged wretched landscape with the part rapturous part consumptive seduction of Burns for company. Across its body the imagination conjured twists and turns to match the emotive intensity of GUHTS, each minute a trigger for contemplation and reaction let alone fear of the track’s sapping disquiet and turbulence.
The blood feather EP is a testing and invasive challenge for sure but as we found one igniting the richest pleasure within but the question is…Are you brave enough to face its creative and emotional monsoon?
The blood feather EP is out now; available @ https://guhts.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 19/08/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review