Gurt take the bluesy, swamp-drenched sounds of the finest NOLA traditions and fire it up with a modern metal sound full of vim, vigour and no little fun. Bongs of Praise is the London quartet’s third album, following 2017s Skullosus and Horrendosaurus from 2014.
Opener ‘Dr Strangeleaf’ leads with a woozy, tripped-out intro, before lurching into some trademark heavy-as-lead riffs, accompanied by a crackly, spoken word botanical/chemical/biological lesson, before taking us into the next track, ‘Weed it and Weep’, which is where things really take off. Huge, filthy riffs, bellowing, demonic vocals all delivered with a ridiculous amount of swagger.
Other highlights include the jagged, off kilter rhythms of ‘Joint of No Return’, the brilliantly titled ‘Marijuarmchair’ which lopes along on a sloth-like riff before completely erupting and the title track itself, closing the album in a wreath of smoke filled riffs, modulators and choral backing vocals – stunning. Some may see Gurt as just a pun-obsessed party band, which would be a real mistake; the piledriving energy, bludgeoning tunes and overall heft provided by Gareth “Growth“ Kelly (vocals), Rich “Sedulurt“ Williams (guitar), Dave “Spice“ Blakemore (bass), and Bill “The Scorpion“ Jacobs (drums), suggest these guys be taken seriously.
‘This is not doom. This is not sludge. This is Gurt.’ So runs their bio intro and it’s an accurate description. Too doomy for Sludge Town, too sludgy for Doom Town and altogether far too groovy for either. Go on, give them a listen and let the good times roll. You won’t regret it.
Bongs of Praise is out on September 6th through When Planets Collide and can be purchased here.
Words: Scott Crawford