Preston Lancashire Grime Metal quintet Gassed Up may claim “Gnostic State” is an EP but with 7 tracks, technically speaking it qualifies as an album on streaming platforms. Without doubt one of the hardest working bands on the UK Underground Metal Scene, vocalist Dan Crossley, drummer Shaun Hunkin, bassist Matt Unsworth and guitarist duo Jack Shaw and Robert Newton are endorsed by Los Carbos Drumsticks. Their second EP, the follow up to 2015’s “Judgement” has been a long time coming. But good things come to those who wait, right?
A run of four singles in the last three years have kept things fresh for Gassed Up live shows and they’ve taken no shortcuts with “Gnostic State” as none of them appear on the album, which was produced by the band themselves while being Mixed and Mastered by Simone Pietroforte of Divergent Studios. Opening salvo “Summoning Murder” is a tale of two halves, first a hedonistic high of smoked out spoken word in English and German in male and female and second a Beatdown Hardcore breakdown that is joined by some Slam vocals from Dan Crossley. First single “Pain Resides” keeps things Metallic Hardcore with spoken word raps and backing vocal screams from every member of the band creating something that is a modernized fresh take on the Brooklyn Hardcore sound from the mid 90s with the likes of Biohazard being an influence. It’s choppy and aggresive with classic Metal chord progressions and some serious headbangablilty, while the guitar squeals of the final bars are choice.
As with “Judgement” their are a pair of guest appearances on this release, with Harry Rule of God Complex lending his throat to the title track. Taking the vocal style of Asteroid Boys but ripping up the lyric sheet and going with a far more hard hitting approach adds appeal with concepts of anxiety and neurosis far more thought provoking. Rule’s part is both solid and savage, fitting the tone of the track perfectly and breaking things into a downtempo groove that is masterfully done as is the clean sung vocal that follows it with a battering of footwork from Shaun Hunkin. “Insomniac” takes things to another place with driven riffs and gang chants, mixing up the vocals in fine form so you get a track that is more Hardcore orientated. Skipping the traditional chorus styles and instead driving home verse after verse of rantings and using repeated lines or phrases works well and means there is no slow up for the two steppers. Following up a track from “Judgement” in “Shell Down Pt. 2”, there is nothing old about it. Coming across like a Hardcore take on Hacktivist, it’s a battering ram of a cut that features an oscillating riff in a high energy output that the government are looking to harness for their new power source. Lyrically taking on back stabbers and naysayers while showing some serious rhyme flow making it a fine cut.
The second guest vocal appearance sees Dan Hounslow of Depravity step up to the microphone as Shaw and Newton deliver some fine bounce and speed in the riff department. It’s hard to tell whether it’s the music driving the speed of the lyrical flow or the vocals that are dragging the music through but either way, there is no quarter given. Hounslow generates some serious gutturals and when the band go downtempo, it’s a joy. The meloncholy tones of “Chaos Magic” show an entirely different side to Gassed Up with bluesy clean sung vocals that make you think you’ve been zapped into some Jimi Hendrix Sunday sessions before the 86 second mark. That’s when you’re launched head on into motorway traffic by the sudden return to the bands core style. Such is the surprise factor, it would have worked equally well as an opening cut as it does a closer [8/10]
1. Summoning Murmur
2. Pain Resides
3. Gnostic State (Ft. Harry Rule of GodComplex)
5. Shell Down Pt. 2
6. No Reprisal (Ft. Dan Hounslow of Depravity)
7. Chaos Magic