Thursday, 12 July 2012

This Gift Is A Curse - I, Gvilt Bearer


This Gift Is A Curse are a great heavy  four piece band, from the bowels of Stockholm. They play a  kind of hardcore/black metal/sludge hybrid. I, Gvilt Bearer was released in May of this year, by five labels including Enjoyment Records, Bloated Veins, Discouraged Records, Braincrushing Records and Monotonstudio Records. It was released on stunning black/red haze 12" vinyl.

Tracklist:-

1. The Swarm
2. Inferno Ad O.
3. Att Hata Allt Mänskligt Liv
4. The Crossing
5. Deceiver
6. 1901
7. Head And Arms
8. Sounds of Broken Bells
9. I Will Swallow All Light

The Swarm starts with a swathe of guitar feedback and a low, repetitive riff that morphs into angry hardcore. The drums are ferocious and those vocals are actually torturous in their delivery. Subtle angular riffs make an appearance towards the middle of the song, which adds another dimension to the wall of noise created by This Gift Is A Curse. There is also some atmospheric instrumental music in the background in places, which seems haunting when placed against this chaotic soundscape.

Inferno Ad O. is more of the same but includes some semi-melodic guitar and more ringing feedback underneath those battering screams. The bands black metal influences come to the fore within the music itself, with some symphonic elements proceeding to drag the atmosphere down further. It's an intense listening experience too, with the song lasting over six minutes and half-way through, settling into a trance inducing dirge of repetitive instrumentation and brutal screams, that gradually get slower and more unnerving.

Att Hata Allt Mänskligt Liv follows directly on from the previous song, with swathes of low guitar playing a haunting, mesmerising melody. The band then jolts into life, making you jump while pummelling you with mid-paced caustic hardcore. The music is creative and they go to great lengths to paint a certain image, one of desolation and lost hope, which threatens to bring you to your knees. The production of the record helps this too, by allowing the instruments to sound huge and slightly unrefined, which is what you want with music like this. Again, This Gift Is A Curse favour lengthy outbursts of drawn out noise to close the song, keeping up the momentum they've gathered from the opening tracks.

The Crossing is a faster song, which brings back the chaotic sound christened by opener The Swarm. It's slightly more structured initially, with a steadier tempo. The black metal riffs in the background add a sense of evil to the music and make the rabid screams seem even more harrowing. This song seems to be over in a flash though, leaving you wondering what the hell just happened.

Deceiver brings you to the halfway point of I, Gvilt Bearer and sees you wading through a thick low-end and head smashingly heavy drumming. The intro dies down and then replays with the vocals over the top. It features some scary effects and seems to be split into passages, which stop and start in bursts, which make the impact stronger, especially that of the drums. By the time 1901 comes around, you don't which way is up or down. Your mind is just completely blown out by the textures and soundscapes that they spew forth.

Head and Arms is one such hardcore/sludge hybrid. Heavy in the sense that it's slow and incredibly abrasive, but that just makes it better! The last two tracks Sound of Broken Bells and I Will Swallow All Light, way in at a collective fifteen minutes. The former starts with head spinning hardcore inspired rage and dark, black metal soundscapes. It's one hell of a penultimate track and breaths yet more fire at you from the turntable. The feedback at the end fills your ears and disorientates you to the extreme.

I Will Swallow All Light finishes you off with one last fatal blow. The vocals at the start of this song are the most brutal on the album and the instrumentation is the sludgiest too, adding some subtle groove to the album. This song is over nine minutes long, but justifies that length with plenty of strong musicianship and the sense of euphoria played out by the band. It's that sense you get when come out of difficult situation unscathed, stronger.

They nurture you with beating drums and the organs, which cleanse you of your demons and drag you down, clean into their world, the weight lifted of your shoulders. It's not fully over though as that passage dies down, there is one more maddening blast of caustic hardcore that brings back to earth with a band, and leaves you quaking as your ears canals collapse and you lose all sense of being.

Overall, I, Gvilt Bearer is a journey. It takes perseverance too listen to it, but it reaps rewards if you are willing to sit down, shut yourself off and let it carry you away. I very much doubt that you’ll hear a heavier record this year or one played with so much thought. 

To experience this album for yourself, you can stream in via This Gift Is A Curse's bandcamp page below:-


You can purchase it from a fair few places too. Firstly, there's the band's own BigCartel page at http://thisgiftisacurse.bigcartel.com/. Also, you can get from the following labels, depending on where in the world you are:-

Enjoyment Records (UK) - http://www.enjoymentrecords.com
Bloated Veins (Denmark) - http://www.bloatedveins.bigcartel.com/
Discouraged Records (Sweden) - http://www.discouragedrecords.com
Braincrushing Records (France) - http://braincrushingrecords.bigcartel.com/
Monotonstudio Records (Germany) -  http://www.monotonstudio-records.de

Also, This Gift Is A Curse can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/This-Gift-is-A-Curse.

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