Within the world of DIY hardcore, the Santa Cruz band Gulch have been one of the big stories of the past few years. Gulch play fast, ugly, corroded music. In their racket you can hear influences from across the aggressive-music spectrum, from death metal and D-beat and the explosive math-music of Botch and the Dillinger Escape Plan. Frontman Elliott Morrow is a tremendous presence, one of the great unhinged characters in underground music right now. And Gulch have earned a rep for making merch that sells out immediately and then costs a whole lot of money in online resale. Today, they release their debut album.
“Album” almost seems like the wrong word. Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress, which the band just announced a few days ago, is a quick burst of a record — eight songs in 16 minutes. The LP follows the 2018 EP Burning Desire To Draw Last Breath and a few assorted promos and demos. All of the songs on Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress aren’t new; earlier versions of two of them were on the promo that the band put out last year.
But holy shit, this thing absolutely wrecks. The band recorded it with Deafheaven producer Jack Shirley, who gives their onslaught a sense of scale and texture that it’s never had before. The first seven songs are pure feral mayhem, music for kicking for powerbombing strangers and smashing bricks over your own face. Then the album ends with something relatively restrained — a dark and foreboding cover of the 1981 Siouxsie And The Banshees track “Sin In My Heart.” Stream this bad boy below.
Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress is out now on Closed Casket Activities.