Friday, 26 September 2014

Gutrot "Filthy muck" 10'', 2008

I love it when, out of the blue, a record of an old British band that I have never heard of comes out. I usually get all excited and restless and generally a real pain in the arse. Things tend to go back to normal after I eventually get the record, listen to it and ponder over it in order to place it in the grand narrative of punk-rock. In 2008, when Wicked Witch released that geezer, I was taken by surprise when I first read the short description that you find on online distros: a new band was about to come, uninvited, into my life.

"What's it called? Gutrot? It sounds a bit grindy, doesn't it?... Old recordings from 1987... A good year this, Antisect were at the top of their crusty game, Deviated Instinct were recording the song "Stormcrow", Amebix released "Monolyth"... Live and rehearsal tapes. Must be rough. Wait! What? With members of AOA and Axegrinder!!! It cannot be! And no one thought of telling me before? For fuck's sake! I NEED to hear that." Well, you know the drill...

A careless listener might think a Gutrot reissue should not have been a top priority, and musically speaking I guess I can understand the argument. However, in the light of this record and of the chapter from the holy "Trapped in a scene", one can grasp the significance of a band such as Gutrot, not necessarily in terms of music but in terms of their involvement in a specific time and place, namely the North London squat scene of the mid-80's. Like Eat Shit and Sons of Bad Breath, their brothers in unrestrained noise-making with a dodgy hygiene, Gutrot played a central role in establishing and promoting a vibrant punk scene in their area and so were an important part of punk history, that is if you see punk as more than just the accumulation of records. Basically, this 10'' is as much a historical document as it is an unhealthy slice of noisy bollocks.

The story of Gutrot began in 1986 under a different - and ridiculous - name: Terry Wogan and the Hellbashers. Then, the band was far less serious and include Skinny from Coitus on bass guitar. The band then changed its name to Gutrot and recuited another bass player called Tim who formerly played in Obliteration (could this be the obscure thrash/death metal band?), alongside Steve who used to sing in AOA and had moved to North London from Scotland in order to be part of the thriving squat scene there, Dalby who now lays in Argy Bargy (an unlikely connection indeed!) and Darryn who would join Axegrinder after the demise of Gutrot. This bunch of merry and active drunken punks played a major role in setting up squatted venues in Hackney such as the Kardboard Box or the Ballet School. From what I can gather from "Trapped in a scene", not unlike the infamous Hackney Hell Crew, their way of life seems to have been fairly chaotic, extreme even, but I bet a Gutrot gig must have been a night to remember if you like Mad Max reconstitutions or the idea of hordes of filthy punks dancing to a Disorder cover band (I know I do). Bands like Gutrot certainly pioneered the crust punk lifestyle, if not the music. And, they had a beef with Conflict, but then, as I understand it, who didn't by 1986?

What? The music? What do you expect really? This is rough, shouted, angry, political, raw, distorted and filthy hardcore punk for the hardcore punks. This is probably much faster than you expect too. Chop one pound of Chaos UK and Disorder, add a glass of Plasmid or early Heresy and mix it with a Legion of Parasites-shaped spoon until you get a thick paste. Bake it for two hours in furious Italian hardcore à la Wretched/Impact/early Negazione and let it marinate for two weeks in the bogs of a punk squat. The first side is taken from a rehearsal while the second one, my favourite, is a live recording that manages to sound better. You can hear the vocals better on the live tracks, a good thing because you can really tell that the singer also did time in AOA (the early line-up) and he's got a cracking voice. Looking at the gig handouts you will realize that Gutrot shared the stage with some fantastic bands during their short existence, like Extreme Noise Terror, Atavistic, Deviated Instinct, Karma Sutra or Axegrinder.

As previously mentioned this was released on the ever reliable and tasteful Dutch label Wicked Witch that also did Lebenden Toten, Aftermath, Atrocious Madness, Effigy or Substandard. I am not a sucker for 10" but this one makes sense since you only have about 10 minutes of noise on each side. The artwork was done by Mid from Deviated Instinct and since no one seems to really give a damn aboyt Gutrot, I am pretty sure you will be able to find a copy for cheap on some distros.


  1. good lord i was searching this LIKE FOREVER. i've seen them play once and i wanted something more than a shitty tape...dont remember where because i was drunks as shite but i know axegrinder were on the bill
    is there a chanceto have this in mp3 files? i'm too lazy to convert it
    cheers mate

  2. Wow!! Some folks enjoy what we did.. It's a damn shame we never got in a studio especially when we were a 5 piece.. I still have the original tape of the practice session somewhere.. Must try and digitize it. D.

    1. Hey there.
      It is true that a proper studio recording would have done justice to your songs, but I guess the very rough sound also gives them some charm and aptly represents the context of the time. Anyway, I certainly love them :)

  3. If Anyone wants to buy the vinyl, just look for seller fatbastid1969..
    I still have a few copies left..