rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Fallen At My Feet
02. Surrounded By Pain
03. Eyes Wide Shut
04. Sweet Dreams (feat. Florent Salfati)
05. Reaching Paradise
06. Tearing Your Life Away
07. Broken Wings
08. The Gates
09. Sanctified
10. Hell Will Replace The Rain
11. Severance
12. Dusk

Standard bearers for an imprint set up by widely praised Manchester metalcore mob MALEVOLENCE, GUILT TRIP have one major thing in common with their new label bosses: From its first note to its last, "Severance" sounds absolutely fucking livid. Coupled with the fact that this young band's music is impressively fresh and cliché-free, it is hard to imagine a future that doesn't involve a great number of violent circle pits kicking off wherever they go.

Riffy. Aggressive. Obnoxious. These are the key tenets of GUILT TRIP's unashamedly straight-to-jugular sound. The band's hardcore credentials are obvious, but it's the full-bore modern metal punch that these songs deliver that promises to set them apart from any number of generic crossover crews. On a more primal / personal note, it is also true that I nearly threw my laptop across the room when I heard "Surrounded By Pain" kick off for the first time. A sublime and adrenalin-fueled hybrid of fight-ready metalcore and, in particular, crunchy, chug-heavy groove metal, it owes a good chunk of its soul to MACHINE HEAD, right down to the deft use of harmonics as punctuation. This, incidentally, is a great thing.

"Severance" often kicks and pummels with street-level spite — with EARTH CRISIS and HATEBREED as obvious forebears — but GUILT TRIP's masterstroke is to focus almost entirely on neck-wrecking riffs and their potential to incite violence in public places. "Severance" is full of moments that feel strategically designed to make people hurl themselves at each other with fists flying. "Eyes Wide Shut" is short, sharp and nasty. "Sweet Dreams" is as precise and gnarly as SYLOSIS, but as stripped down and thuggish as MADBALL. "Broken Wings" is a rampaging, thrashed-up bombing campaign with echoes of the early noughties (and bands like HIMSA and SHADOWS FALL) and a lethally effective mid-song dissolution into mournful melody.

"The Gates" and "Sanctified" both zip along with speed metal impatience, but the latter shifts from a brutal groove to some trippy guitar work and a hazily KORN-like vocal melody, as yet more scything riffs pile up. GUILT TRIP have no shortage of sharp, shrewd ideas, even as they goad us to upturn the furniture. They even pull off a gothic, riff-driven ballad ("Hell Will Replace The Rain") that turns out to be one of this album's heaviest moments.

Meanwhile, the jaw-jarring slamcore of the title track seems to go through an absurd number of transitions, but every riff and every melodic hook is where it should be. Even the breezy folk rock stroll of the closing "Dusk" hits the spot. In fact, it is a mature maneuver that speaks volumes about GUILT TRIP's vast potential. This band will go places, and people will go apeshit. On this evidence, it's a done deal.

Author: Dom Lawson
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