Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: Gauntlet - Stubburn (2012)

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Gauntlet - Stubburn
When we last heard from Spain's Gauntlet, the band seemed poised to break into the modern rock market with their What Doesn't Kill Us LP. A few years, countless gigs, and a new bass player later, the band is back with Stubburn and an edgier, more aggressive style.

Gauntlet establish their stance early on, with "There Will Be No Peace" and "Feed The Worms" comprising a one-two-punch of furious, grinding riffs and venomous death vocals. With cleanly sung refrains, Gauntlet strays quite close to melodeath territory on these tracks before easing up on the pedal - albeit just slightly - with "Slave". Beginning with this track, Stubburn takes on a considerably more melodic tone as Daniel Millán and Miguel Rocha harmonize their thrashy riffs and toss in an occasional flashy solo. It's here, in the belly of the album, that Stubburn is the most appealing. The onslaught of the opening tracks eases into a sort of a melodic thrash atmosphere, dominated by complex (yet heavy) riffs and interesting pinch tricks. "Blood, Sweat & Tears" and "You Don't Know Me" earn spots as album highlights because of these factors, as well as Rocha focusing more on his singing than his barking.

At times emulating Layne Staley in his style, Rocha has a strong metal/rock voice that imparts just the right amount of grit and swagger. His skill is lost in the guttural growls of Stubburn's more brutal tracks, and he trips over his accent just a bit on the album's rock-oriented numbers (the modern power ballad "Sold My Soul", for instance), but by and large Gauntlet's sound is more convincing because of Rocha's work behind the mic.

With the sleazy, Guns 'n' Roses sound to closing track "The Fake", Gauntlet packs a number of styles into Stubburn's run time. Thankfully the radio-friendly rock of their previous full-length is not one of them, thereby making Stubburn a more honest and genuine album than its predecessor.

Track Listing
1There Will Be No Peace3:50
2Feed The Worms4:58
4Blood, Sweat & Tears6:18
5My Dying Breath2:51
6You Don't Know Me5:15
7Last Exit To Blisstonia3:47
8Sold My Soul4:50
9The Fake5:37
Total Runtime41:08

1 comment:

  1. Shit...this is the best album I've heard in the whole year. "honest and genuine" my ass, these guys kick ass. Oh wait, they are from Spain...hm. How could that be.