Rough around the edges
-- Cuttermess --
Review written by Stijn “Metal Shredder” Daneels.
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
In late 2019 I was invited to the Judasfest event in Sint-Niklaas where I met friendly and familiar acts like Poseydon and Our Hate along with new faces such as Bleedskin and Cuttermess. Cuttermess opened up the event and gave a short but fun and colorful performance and now, a little less than a year later, Cuttermess contacted me again to take a look at their debut EP “Take ‘M To The Guillotine.” With an EP name as sharp as this one, shredding is mandatory!
“Take ‘M To The Guillotine” is the independently released debut EP from the Belgian cross-over metal band Cuttermess, formed in 2018 and featuring members who played in such acts like I.Inside, Poseydon, Los Vendettaz & Capital Scum.
One thing I instantly noticed and liked about Cuttermess’ debut release is the high-quality production values. The EP was recorded in the Hearse Studio in Heule (near Kortrijk) where other top Belgian acts like Aborted and Wiegedood have recorded material in the past and the result shines throughout. The EP’s riffs are crisp, the drum beats are clear, the vocals very audible and the overall mix is strong and balanced. Something you don’t hear often when band’s make their first release.
The EP begins with “To The Guillotine,” a strong opener with a powerful marching main melody, convincing vocals and a combative atmosphere. Next up is “Resort to Violence,” a song with nice rumbling riffs and equally nice vocals and finally comes “The Madness,” a groovy tune with galloping drums, grinding riffs and snarling vocals. All songs feature a mixture of subgenres like thrash, groove, death, old-school and even a bit of power metal.
The main weakness in Cuttermess current material is that it sometimes lacks tightness and focus. Overall, the songs on “Take ‘M To The Guillotine” feel unnecessarily long, in all 3 of the EP’s songs Cuttermess starts off strong only to let the momentum be dragged down by the slower and quite repetitive middle parts but fortunately the band does regain their mojo by the end. It is clear that the band is still testing out the waters and that’s perfectly fine, since I feel that Cuttermess is like a diamond that will shine even more when the rough edges are cut off. And now, let’s talk about the good stuff.
Aside from the excellent production that I mentioned earlier, Cuttermess showcases excellent guitar solos, particularly in tracks like “The Madness” and the EP’s title track. The riffs are also very melodic and bass-driven and the clean vocals in particular are memorable. The beats are rhythmic and when the band plays to these aforementioned strengths, they clearly rip and tear.
The EP’s artwork features a politician with a large blonde haircut and bright red tie who looks very similar to a certain American president and who’s head is just a second away from being chopped off. Other than that, I do love the use of black-and-white with red being the only other color. It reminds me a lot of the Sin City comics. “Take ‘M To The Guillotine” mainly deals with social and political issues but it’s presented in a more optimistic and upbeat way than usual. Rather than just talking about contemporary issues and all the misery it causes, Cuttermess implores you to get up from your chair and to take on the world!
[SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
I strongly prefer the opening track of “To The Guillotine.” For the most part, the song is fast, energetic and catchy but I do feel that the slower middle part is a bit too dragged out. However, the song picks up steam again when the powerful guitar solos kick in. Another tune that evoked a similar feel with me was the EP’s ending track, “The Madness.” That being said, the EP’s second track, “Resort to Violence” felt like the weakest song on the release. While it still is a fun tune with greasy riffs, the song lacked any coherent structure unlike the other two tunes on the EP. Still, I’ve enjoyed this EP for what it is, so let’s cut to the…
7 box cutters out of 10. While Cuttermess feels a bit rough around the edges, their debut EP does show clear strengths from this fledging crossover metal act. Melodic guitar riffs, beautiful solos, compelling vocals, groovy bass and rhythmic drums that I hope will be featured even more prominently in the band’s following releases. Here’s the title track of “Take ‘M To The Guillotine!”