Album Review: GUTS – Blunt Force Trauma

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GUTS

Blunt Force Trauma - Abattoir Blues Records

Earlier this year I reviewed the Trauma EP by Manchester’s dirty blues merchants GUTS, it was the final instalment in their Blunt Force Trauma trilogy of EP’s, now they have finally collated the three EP’s, Blunt, Force and Trauma, to form this album. Blunt Force Trauma is released on the independent Manchester based label, Abattoir Blues Records, this is a label that has the stated intention of the curating the finest contemporary blues based music, and on the strength of this debut full length release from GUTS you get the feeling that they are as good as their word.

Blunt Force Trauma opens with the slow grinding menace of 666, this shifts into the mutant hellbilly of one of the album’s highlights, the macabre Jeffrey Dahmer’s Eyes, a track that possesses a gloriously primitive rock ‘n roll feel, that is followed by the fine swamp grind of Cemi and Be Had. As I noted on the review of the Trauma EP, their reworking of Be My Baby is something to behold, this is not a cover version as the soft and sweet sixties standard has been completely reworked, it now carries a sinister menace that hints at unhealthy obsession and mental illness. This is followed by a quartet of songs, James Brown, Fucked On Your Fuck, Get In The Car and Dirty Mouth, that encompass stripped down dirty rock ‘n roll and raw primitive blues before you get to the fine closing duo. Mean Old Queen is another highpoint that brings a slice of upbeat garage dementia to Blunt Force Trauma, and drags another primal element into the chaotic fray, before Blow brings the album to a dark and stormy close.

Blunt Force Trauma is an impressive collection of eleven tracks that combines the spirit of primitive rock ‘n roll and the slow sinister grind of blues, and injects it with punk attitude and garage psychosis to create a heady turbulent album that has been worth the long wait for it’s arrival. Throughout Blunt Force Trauma vocalist Liam O’Neill delivers an anguished blues howl that sounds like it’s possessed by his personal demons, this is accompanied by a primitive grind that recalls the darker side of rock ‘n roll and hints at mental anguish, obsession, drug use and primal urges, in short everything about rock ‘n roll that your parents warned you about, and in my book that always has to be a good thing.

Blunt Force Trauma can be ordered via Abattoir Blues Records here