Gulch leave no heavy-metal stone unturned on Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Gulch leave no heavy-metal stone unturned on Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress

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Santa Cruz hardcore outfit Gulch cover a lot of ground in the brief 16 minutes of their new Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress. The four-piece leave no punk or metal stone unturned; they cram every possible take on dark, heavy, and mean into the album’s eight tracks, which all grind to a halt just as quickly as they start. Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress is so wildly intense and varied it’s nearly impossible to do it justice in print. Gulch can kick off a track with explosive D-beat hardcore, settle into tectonic sludge, and cap it all off with grindcore fury—on the album’s closer, a twisted cover of Siouxsie & the Banshees’ “Sin in My Heart,” they even tap into some goth appreciation. The band masterfully handle all these styles, and streamline them to bring everything seamlessly together. The players in Gulch are ridiculously skilled, and beyond being shredders they’re able to capture a mood better than most of their peers; the eerie dissonance and gloomy energy of Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress make it one of the creepiest, darkest blasts of music to emerge this year. It’s hard to find a band with the ability to do heavy music so right, but here we have Gulch, taking all sorts of hardcore and metal to the next level at once. This album’s going to be hard to top.   v

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