“Age of the Fanatics”

By Dr. Abner Mality

“Age of the Fanatics” should be the kind of album I really dig but for some reason, I just can’t get into it. It’s hard to figure out why. I’m a huge fan of the old Stockholm Swedish death metal sound, which Gutter Instinct possesses in spades, yet this album leaves me dry. 

The band comes up with an extremely harsh guitar sound here, like a band saw going through steel plate. It’s even harsher than the average Swedish death metal band…whether that’s a negative or positive depends on your own taste but for me it’s not automatically a turn off. The drum sound, though, is pretty bad. Not quite “Saint Anger” bad, but not that far away, either. That does takes some of the enjoyment of the record.

As for the music, Gutter Instinct knows enough to switch things up as far as tempo and riffing go. Some songs are blindingly fast, others more mid-paced. But the riffing just doesn’t seem to register with me. Songs go in one ear and out the other with little sticking in your brain past the initial impact. They try some melodic Dismember type solos, which I usually appreciate, but it doesn’t help. The songs here just leave me cold.

Maybe a couple more listens and something will start to click. But there’s so much oldschool death metal these days, you’re not likely to give it that chance before moving on to the next band. I don’t hate Gutter Instinct but they just don’t seem to do it for me.