Album: Tales from the Gutter – EP
The American public thrives on horror stories and thirsts for tales of disgust and woe. They feed on stories of death, famine and abomination, dwelling on bad news and feeding from it like a parasite. Positivity passes like a common cold, but negativity? It broods and dwells, growing within the human mind, taking control of its senses—and if you need proof, immerse yourself in the cognitive cesspit that is Filth’s debut EP, Tales from the Gutter. Not in recent history has a band so aptly lived up to their names as these North Carolinian crushers, bringing devastating downtempo deathcore crashing upon the listener’s head with a remarkable, infectious nu-metal twist that will stay lodged in your head for eons to come. Tales from the Gutter is an abrasive, aggravated display of bitterness that will have even the most positive minds drenched in Filth and drowning in hatred.
Nine out of ten fans of heavy music—even the most die hard among them—will tell you that downtempo deathcore has reached a point of stagnation. The tenth will show you Filth’s debut EP and laugh in your face. This Carolinian quintet does for 2015’s heavy music scene what Black Tongue’s Falsifier or Admiral Angrydid several years ago: breathe fresh, Filthy life into its collapsed lungs. Percussionist Tyler Perna is neither monotonous with trudging, boring bass drum patterns, nor is he out of place with pointless technicality. Rather, he enthusiastically emulsifies punchy, pointed nu-metal percussion and pours it all over a sludge metal foundation, rendering each crushing breakdown just a touch catchy. Perna’s work at the introduction to “Worm” is marvelous, blending beefy heaviness with bouncy, dancy candor—giving bassist Nathan Pittman a wicked canvas to coat in sludge. Each incredible pattern Pernaproduced is painted in grimy grooves by Pittman’s pulverizing bass, amplifying Perna’s already punishing kick drum and piercing snare. “Worm” is an excellent example of this—as is the duration of “Manic.” However, tracks like the insidious (and infectiously catchy) “Insomniac” showcase the other half of Filth’s furious instrumentation: guitarists Austin Fortenberry and David Gantt. Where many downtempo deathcore artists seem content to trade off hefty chugs and eerie sound effects, Fortenberry and Gantt separate themselves from the pack. “Insomniac” is a brilliant track that blends tumultuous, churning riffs with bold, brute-force breakdowns that snap the listener’s spine effortlessly. Moments like the beginning of “Insomniac” and the arid opening riff to “Worm” are among Filth’s most lethal examples of Gantt and Fortenberry’s dynamic interplay.
As brilliant as Filth’s instrumentation may be, it still doesn’t truly tell any of the band’s wretched stories of woe and wickedness. That job falls squarely on the shoulders of the band’s ever-capable frontman, Dustin Mitchell. Splitting the listener’s skull with the most terrifying lows since Bodysnatcher’s Abandonment or Take Charge’s Pre-Contact, Mitchell is malicious and malevolent to the very last syllable. Whether it’s his eerie spoken introduction to “Worm” or the horrifyingly catchy chorus to “Collapse,” Mitchell’s vocals are truly the most apt, raspy growls to tell Tales from the Gutter. His work throughout the brief-but-blistering EP is immaculate, reigning among heavy music’s heaviest hitters, letting loose with a grimy low register that is loosely reminiscent of Get Jiggy With It’s Daimien Hartranft’s hellish gurgle. While Mitchell rarely strays from a bitter, burgeoning growl or a harsh mid-range yell, he doesn’t lose points for lack of variety, as his expertise gives the band a focused, synchronized dynamic that will slam through the listener’s head like a wrecking ball.
Filth’s hyper-heavy, low, slow instrumentation—spurred on by moments of catchy nu-intensity and Mitchell’s malevolent vocals—provides a prolapse-inducing, bowel-evacuating display of ferocious evil with all the fervor and appetite of a pack of starved wolves. Tales from the Gutter rips at the listener’s head, tearing their mind to shreds and dances in the remains. “Desperation” is a dismal, depressive down tuned anthem—while “Manic” and “Collapse” take that negativity and turn it outward, inspiring the listener to throw bows at anything within arm’s reach. This quintet take the essence of heaviness and intensify it, stretching it out over five filthy anthems for the listener to immerse themselves in.
Forget Fast and Furious, as Filth are here to prove that you don’t need speed to shear the listener’s head in half. Tales from the Gutter has no clue what “subtle” means, and has never heard of “calm.” It is here only to drown the world in sewage, rot and despair—infecting every listener’s mind in the process.
For Fans Of: REX, Black Tongue, Traitors, Admiral Angry, Bodysnatcher
By: Connor Welsh