Gutter Instinct – Not Another Entombed Clone

Wednesday, 13th May 2015

If there’s one thing that many bands are trying to be in the here and now, it’s Swedish death metal. How many times have you run across a band that was trying to sound like Entombed, Dismember, At the Gates, or even In Flames? While many bands across the globe clearly acknowledge the influence of Swedish bands in the growth of the death metal movement, it can be stifling as well. Imagine being a Swedish death metal band and have to go through the inevitable comparisons and hold to the standard of the masters. Or trying to carve out your own niche separate from those who came before you.

Gutter Instinct is the latest Swedish export, and with only a demo and EP under their belt, are already well on their well to establishing themselves as a death metal powerhouse. Choosing to look outside their country’s borders for influences, The Insurrection tips the hat to many nations throughout it’s run time. A new band not limiting themselves to one particular endgame sound-wise is always a plus in our book at DR, so we inquired for more information from the guitar team of Oscar Persson and Hannes Hellman. The pair were able to discuss their signing with Prosthetic, developing their own sound, as well as the road ahead.

Dead Rhetoric: Do you ever feel like you could get pigeon-holed by location, seeing how you are actually Swedish death metal?

Oscar Persson: No, not so far. We get a lot of questions that are linked with our origin in interviews, but I think it’s pretty natural since the death metal scene was partially born in Sweden. And we do take pride in being a death metal band from Sweden, hopefully it’s a seal of quality for the audience since it takes a lot of effort to stand out in the crowd and to get somewhere when the competition is as hard as it is here, with many great bands. However, we don’t want to be a retro band. We don’t want to be another Entombed clone. The death metal sound is the foundation but we we want to mix this with other subgenres of extreme metal like grindcore and black metal. I think it’s the mix of genres that gives birth to new genres and keep the scene interesting.

Dead Rhetoric: Given the climate of increasing subgenres, how would you describe yourselves, given the opportunity?

Persson: If I would describe our music in terms of subgenres I would call it blackened deathgrind.

Hannes Hellman: It’s definitely some kind of mix between death metal, black metal and grindcore, so I would agree with Oscar’s description. However, the grindcore influence was more prominent in the beginning. Our style is now slowly evolving into what lately has been described as blackened death metal.

Dead Rhetoric: The press release mentioned that you aim to create death metal with no compromise and no remorse. Could you explain that a bit further?

Persson: It means that we have no boundaries and no rules when it comes to writing extreme music. We want to explore Death Metal to the fullest extent and we are just getting started with the release of our vinyl-EP The Insurrection. Nothing can be too heavy, too fast or too evil. We want to incorporate all that’s extreme. When you wish to experiment, that doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you take your sound in a melodic/progressive direction. Instead you can take influences from closely related extreme genres. Nails, from the Unites States, is one example. They mix metal, grind/crust and hardcore and they are heavy as fuck! Also, it means that we don’t want to compromise when it comes to the lyrics either. We don’t write traditional death metal lyrics (people being eaten by zombies etc.) because there’s really nothing in it for us. Instead we want to write about things that really pisses us off – oppressive ideologies, corporate greed, consumerism, biased media, religious dogmas etc.

Dead Rhetoric: Where did the name Gutter Instinct stem from?

Persson: It comes from the inner urge to rise up and beat those who misuse their power to the ground. A healthy hate towards authority.

Hellman: It’s a word play on ‘gut instinct’, like a made up concept that describes the urge that Oscar mentioned. This concept runs like red line through basically all of our lyrics.

Dead Rhetoric: What could you tell us about the cover art of The Insurrection?

Oscar/Hellman: It’s kind of a summary of all the themes that we deal with in the lyrics, such as resistance, anti-consumerism, the death of human solidarity and hatred towards fascism, religious dogmas and conservative/right wing ideologies. Generally, we feel that the cover art pretty much speaks for itself.

Dead Rhetoric: Getting picked up by Prosthetic after just one demo is impressive. How did this signing come about?

Persson/Hellman: After the recording of the Obedience demo tape we immediately started to work on The Insurrection. Once it was done we started to look for labels that would be interested in putting it out. It was actually when we sent the EP material to Prosthetic Records that we got signed, and not the demo tape. However it was necessary for us to record a demo first, or the EP wouldn’t have sounded the way it sounds. The demo was an important first step in trying to find our own musical style.

Dead Rhetoric: What do you need to do in this day and age to separate yourself from the death metal pack?

Hellman: We’ve already touched upon this in previous answers, but I guess you could say that we separate ourselves partly by mixing different subgrenres (thereby not sounding like ‘typical’ death metal) and by writing lyrics that deal with different subjects than the lyrics of most other Swedish death metal bands do. However, I feel it’s important to point out that we don’t do all this solely for the purpose of separating ourselves from other bands, but primarily because we like the result of it. All of us like to listen to so many different types of metal, and extreme music in general, and we want to try and incorporate all the best elements from each one. For example, if I write a riff that is very ‘death’ and Oscar writes one that is very ‘black’, when we put them together and find out that it sounds good we just go for it.

Persson: Yeah, we wouldn’t want to ‘miss out’ on the good characteristics of any metal genre.

Dead Rhetoric: Do you have plans to follow up The Insurrection with a full-length record in the near future?

Persson/Hellman: Yes. In fact, we’re entering the studio by the end of June to begin recording our debut full length album, which we hope will be out by the end of 2015 or early 2016.

Dead Rhetoric: Being that it will be your first full-length, do you feel any pressure to make sure you deliver the best album you can?

Hellman: The only pressure we feel comes from within ourselves and we always try to make sure that each release is as good as it possibly can be, both production-wise and music-wise, and that it all comes from the heart.

Persson: The only ones we compete with is ourselves. When you start to look too much at what other bands are doing, what is trendy or whatever, you will loose focus as an artist. It has to come from within.

Dead Rhetoric: What does Gutter Instinct look like in the live setting?

Hellman: The line-up is the same as when we recorded The Insurrection, with the addition of Simon Isaksson on bass. We haven’t been able to play live more than a few times with Gutter Instinct thus far, but we’re hoping to do so in the near future, and also to develop our stage appearance/live concept.

Dead Rhetoric: Lastly, what does the rest of the year look like for Gutter Instinct?

Persson: We’ll be in the studio all summer recording our debut album, then hopefully doing as many live shows as possible.

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