ARTIST: GUTTER KNIFE
TITLE: BOOTS ON THE GROUND
LABEL: QUALITY CONTROL HQ RECORDS
WORDS: EMMA MURPHY
Through the image on the grainy album cover of Boots On The Ground one can’t make out much about the bands make up. Social media won’t help either because the band doesn’t have any. Hearing the mature sound coming from Gutter Knife you might, ignorantly and naively, assume they would be in their thirties and probably looked something like Wattie Buchan. But you’d be wrong.
Scour through the band’s back catalogue of dingy basement shows on YouTube and through the odd slam dancing teen, wearing a t-shirt that’s too big, peeks vocalist Luke Austin, turtleneck clad with a bleach blonde mop. He looks no older than eighteen or nineteen. Austin’s vocals are not dissimilar to Anti-nowhere League’s Animal; rough, as if he’s smoked 50 a day for 50 years which is relatively impossible given his age. In another video, the band look like they’re on their way back from a football match, except for the bassist, who looks like he’s on the way back from a skate park in space. Gutter Knife straddle the borders between hardcore, thrash, and true solid street punk. Hailing from Brighton, the band have one other “full length” album, Demo which was released a couple of years ago. Full length is said like “this” because it’s seven tracks long and eleven minutes all in all.
“it’s hard, it’s fast, it’s raw, it’s addictive”
‘Boots on the Ground’ isn’t much longer, eight tracks adding up to twelve minutes. A bloody good twelve minutes though. ‘Imposter’ is the fifth track on the album. It’s a diddy 40 seconds long but it’s a tasty little number. It’s followed up by ‘No Justice’ which sounds like something Steve Ignorant would write and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Crass were an influence for this band.
That being said when you listen to this album it pours of influences from all over the place. You’ll hear a vocal growl between lines or a guitar riff on a song and instantly another band, modern hardcore or UK 82, will spring to mind instantly.
Gutter Knife wouldn’t look out of place on any heavy music line up. Their sound is perfectly curated to appeal to a massive audience without compromising on quality. Judging by the few videos online the hardcore kids love them already but there’s no reason why their audience shouldn’t be filled with grunge fans, thrashers, street punks, and your Nan maybe. They could play with Turnstile but then they could play with The Casualties too.
This album begs to be played live. It’s hard, it’s fast, it’s raw. It’s addictive and because it’s so short you can listen to it two or three times in one sitting and not get bored.