For the second successive year, PlanetMosh is delighted to be the main media partner, and main stage sponsor, for Monsters Of Rot V, the annual celebration of the best in the extreme Irish metal scene. As part of our continuing build up to the August 1 event, we today turn the spotlight on Dublin death dealers Guttrench.
We started by asking guitarist Dave McEvoy to tell us a little bit about the band and how they got to where they are now…
The band consists of Dean Brennan on vocals, Robert Redmond on drums, Neville Lawless on bass – and myself.
We’re based in Dublin, and practice here in Volt Studios. The band kicked off in 2010, but Dean and Rob are the two remaining original members. A previous incarnation included Dave Coyne (ex-Skewered) and Mark Brophy (ex-Warpath) on guitars, with me initially joining as a bass player. With Mark’s departure, I moved on to guitars, and Neville joined on bass. With the departure of Dave Coyne, we came to be the four-piece that we are today.
What inspired the band name?
The band formed originally under the name Bludgeoned, but seeing as there was a myriad of bands already using that name or similar, Gutwrench was decided upon, but using an alternate spelling of Guttrench to make it more unique. This has led to some friends making interesting variations of the name, the current leader being Buttclench.
How would you describe your style of music?
We play Brutal Death Metal. Our music is heavily laden with blast beats and guttural vocals.
What are your musical influences, both individually and collectively?
Some of our influences that spring to mind would be Prostitute Disfigurement, Putrid Pile, Aborted, Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Suffocation, Vomitory and Severe Torture. Individually our influences are quite eclectic. Our drummer, for example, has a drum and bass side project.
And lyrically what inspires you? What subjects do you write about?
Our lyrics are written firmly tongue in cheek, mainly focusing on the gorier side of things, with an element of humour thrown in to the mix. Our song titles in particular can often get a good reaction when announced at gigs – ‘Bummed With A Brick’ being one that springs to mind.
You’re from Dublin, which seems to have a very active death metal scene at the moment – especially compared to here in Belfast. What would you attribute this to? Do you think the economic climate, for example, inspires musicians to turn to the darker side of music and vent their anger at what is happening that way?
The economic climate wouldn’t be something that we would consider as a reason for why we are in a band. Some bands might use that as an inspiration, but it has never really been any kind of guiding force for us.
The Dublin scene just seems to have a plethora of very able musicians, many of whom seem to be in more than one band, so finding band members and making contacts in such a small scene makes it easy for new bands to start up. In saying that though, we’ve said farewell to the likes of Xenocide, Dichotomy and Atrax Mantis in recent times, so if anything, it may be shrinking. Atrax were Kilkenny-based, but always made a regular appearance here in Dublin.
Does the fact that the Dublin scene is so active at the moment make it easier or more difficult for bands such as yourselves to get gigs – and, more importantly perhaps, get fans to those gigs? Are there enough decent venues, or do bands end up playing the same places to the same faces over and over again (certainly that is an issue we have here in Belfast)?
It really is quite easy to get gigs here, especially with the likes of Carnage Metal Club running every Friday in Fibbers with live bands.
Venue wise there isn’t a huge range, but it’s more than adequate. The Pint was one of our favourite places to gig here when they started focusing on metal gigs, so we were sad to see it go. Bands can end up playing the same places to the same faces, but it can be important to pick and choose gigs wisely, to ensure you’re not playing in the same place every few weeks just for the sake of it.
Overall, in recent times, there hasn’t really been a gig where the attendance has been really poor: generally, most gigs we’ve played have had a decent turn out.
The reason we are chatting, of course, is because of Monsters Of Rot: how did you hear about the Festival?
A couple of us were going to head up last year for the session, after seeing the likes of Putrefy, Overoth, Dead Aeon and Zombified on the bill. But, for whatever reasons, we never made it. After seeing what a success it was, we regretted not making our way there.
Once the announcement went up about Monsters Of Rot V, we got in contact with the organisers, to ensure we didn’t make the same mistake again.
Apart from Siege of Limerick, MOR and the occasional one-dayer such as Perverting The Innocent and Unleashed (both of which are also backed by PlanetMosh), Ireland as a whole seems to have a distinct lack of festivals. Do you think this is an issue, or is the balance just right, given the relatively low profile extreme music has in the overall scheme of things, especially when it comes to the mainstream media?
The balance seems to be pretty good in all honesty. Too many events like that would dilute the impact that ones such as MOR and the Siege of Limerick have. The fact that they are few and far between really makes them something to look forward to.
Speaking of one-dayers, Day of Decay was a particularly fun event that we’ve played. It would be good to see that make an appearance again.
So, what’s next for Guttrench after MOR? The most recent recordings I could find of yours online is the ‘Capture, Release, Kill’ EP released back in 2011: have you any plans for any new material to be unleashed in the near future?
It has indeed been quite some time since recording our debut EP, and it was our first time in a studio as a band, so it was an interesting experience. We’ve moved on significantly from that, so it wouldn’t be an accurate representation of where the band is today. But as our debut EP, it will always be significant to us. [Since then] we’ve been very particular about song writing, scrapping quite a few songs along the way that we weren’t 100 per cent happy with. We now have eight tracks written that we are happy to release as an album.
To that end, we recently went into the studio with Steven ‘Rats’ Rahaman, and recorded all guide guitars and sorted our click tracks to each song as part of our album pre-production. With that all done, we expect to record our full length by the end of the year.
[Live], we’re playing the next instalment of the Siege of Limerick [on Sunday October 25], which is always an absolute pleasure to be a part of. We’ve played it a few times now, and those gigs are some of the most enjoyable ones we’ve done to date.
Prior to that we’re playing Summer Breeze of Death and Violence in both Dublin and Cork on August 14 and 15, which should be a fun weekend, and Annihilation of Mortals III, which takes place on October 17 in Fibbers. Both [of these events are] organised by Polish Metal Promotions.
Further down the line, we’re playing the Saturday of the Eradication festival in Cardiff, running from April 22 to 24, 2016. We’re just back from our first headlining UK tour, so following that we have our sights firmly set on more overseas gigs.
Finally, do you have any message for anyone who is thinking of heading to MOR and hasn’t quite made up their minds yet?
You really can’t argue with a full day of camping, beers and quality metal for only 18 euro.
And we wouldn’t argue with that either. Monsters Of Rot, organized by Henchman Promotions, takes place on Saturday August 1 at the Halfway Inn, Letterbreen, County Fermanagh. And next in our series of previews we’ll be seeing what makes local upstarts Attack The Day tick…