Friday, May 25, 2018

"Heirs of Sisyphus" by Gutter Instinct

Heirs of Sisyphus
You may recall Gutter Instinct's debut record, Age of Fanatics.

It's possible you've forgotten, because it has been a few years since we discussed that record.

To catch you back up to speed. They're a death metal band from the other side of the Atlantic where everything is pretty cold all of the time.

Gutter Instinct seems to be bolder and stronger than they were a few years back.

Their primal urge seems to countermand their gutter instinct as it were.

Many extreme bands, some of them on quite popular farewell tours at present, are comfortable making the same albums over and over. The Swedes from Helsingborg have chosen a different path and they've made a spectacular follow up album.

Now let's see what they've got to say about the matter shall we?

Glacially Musical: What did you do in the time between the debut album and Heirs of Sisyphus?

Gutter Instinct/Oscar Persson: We did some local gigs and we also went from Prosthetic Records to sign with Pulverised Records. Although Age of the Fanatics was well received by the underground audience and press, we felt that we wanted to explore further down the musical path that we took on Age of the Fanatics and we wanted to do it right away. 

We felt very inspired and basically locked ourselves into our rehearsal space and started to write. The recording started in April last year in Studio Mangelrum together with Kristofer Örstadius here in Helsingborg and lasted throughout the summer. Then we sent it to Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio for mixing and mastering. 

He has done recordings with Watain and Inferno, and since we wanted more of a Black Metal feeling to the new album, since our songs went in that direction, we decided this was the right move. Then there were some issues with production delays, so even if the record was finished in September/October it's not going to be released until June 8th

We also had some line-up changes. Thomas, our singer, decided to leave the band. It was all on good terms and we are still friends, so there are no hard feelings whatsoever. Luckily, we were only without a singer for two weeks, then we got a hold of Simon Fridlund and things clicked immediately. While waiting for Heirs of Sisyphus to be released, we rehearsed the songs with Simon for future live shows.             

GM: Tell me about the title. Greek mythos seem to be cropping up in metal these days. What's it all about?

It's about humanity never learning from its mistakes. If Age of the Fanatics was mostly about islamic extremism and religion overall, Heirs of Sisyphus is about the extremes on the opposite side of the spectrum. Right wing politicians, nationalists, racists and so on. 

When I wrote the title track I thought about Donald Trump and the rise of right wing populism, same thoughts and ideology as the Nazis had here in Europe, and how fucking morally corrupt and dangerous it is to play on peoples' fear like that. It's the same thing that Hitler did. 

I just wanted to capture that feeling of disappointment, anger and hopelessness when I think of us as humans, and how we are doomed. History goes in circles and always repeats itself and we as humans are the heirs of Sisyphus - making the same mistakes over and over again, just like Sisyphus is doomed to push that boulder to the top of the hill over and over again.

GM: How is this album different than its predecessor?
GI: Lyrically it's much more nihilistic and bitter. There are some songs with some "fighting spirit" but most of them are very dark and soaked in hopelessness. Musically it's harder, yet more melodic, but also atmospheric. 

The production is still raw, but in a better way and it also sounds much bigger. I think it's much more diverse than Age of the Fanatics. Adding more Black Metal elements makes it a whole different animal. I hope that people will get that this is not just a Stockholm Death Metal tribute, like many other bands are doing right now. 

And that, even if we use HM-2- pedals, this is something completely different. If Age of the Fanatics was an embryo, this is where we have managed to refine our sound.     

GM: You don't play that Gothenburg metal and you're not playing that Tampa Bay metal either. Tell me about what you do play.

GI: I think it's very hard to say without throwing a bunch of genre descriptions around. We draw inspirations from a wast variety of extreme music, but if I'm gonna try to describe it I would say Blackened Old School Death/Grind/War Metal.    

GM: Tell me the inspiration behind the song Tip of the Spear.

GI: It's about going over the edge. Not just to criticize and talk about the things that you hate in this world but actually transform your words into action. 

And it's also about the process behind it. What happens with a man when he takes that step, and passes the point of no return? Does the end justify the means? If the hate and anger becomes too much, and you use violence, even if it is for a good cause, are you not then in fact just as bad as the things/people you are trying to destroy?  

To quete Nietzsche: "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." Tip of the Spear is about the monster. He who is long lost in the abyss.

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