Spill Your Guts – The Wrath It Takes Review

Moving sucks. Fleeing sucks more. That’s the story of Spill Your Guts though, who have, since their inception, churned through 11 members—all expats moving through China for opportunity. However, in their search for a better life they’ve also made the mistake of wanting to be part of the Shanghai hardcore scene, which exists under heavy government scrutiny—artists like Spill Your Guts must truly remain underground to continue. As a young band trying to break through, it can already be daunting hoping that your next gig has an audience—add to that the anxiety of wondering whether your venue will be crashed by local authorities, and it’s a wonder these hardcore hooligans could spit out even one full-length let alone this sophomore outing, The Wrath It Takes. Thrashing between escapism and enragement, Spill Your Guts has managed to distill the chaos around them into 10 tracks of catchy madness. Good luck staying seated for this listen.

True to their troubled identity, Spill Your Guts balances moments of terror-throat ferocity against anthemic enjoyment and blackened flair. With only one track exceeding four minutes, everything presented has been smoothed for maximum ear penetration. Like an early Kvelertak, Spill Your Guts knows how to pepper the senses with a soupçon of bluesy riffs (“Lift the Curse,” “Prey on Death”) against batches of blasts and infusions of tremolo assaults. These loud and proud punks can also devolve into churning, brooding hardcore bangers reminiscent of gritty acts like Trap Them or Integrity. Whether leading a fist-pumping crowd chant or “karate”-filled pit, Spill Your Guts uses every moment on The Wrath It Takes pushing sound to hold the audience hostage.

Without care for his future voice, Russian expat Dima Bir lays down harrowing howls that violate the advice of otolaryngologists everywhere but steal the show all the same. Bir allows vitriol to scrape the high-end of his shredded vocal range, lending a painful yet powerful note to his vituperations of the world around him (“Reaper’s Toll,” “Pyrite”). This rage built across the first half of the album culminates in the second-half opener “Blood Soaked Wolves” where Bir launches a tattered tirade in his native tongue—pleading and pounding both fists into sanguine sand. Other post-hardcore-tinged tracks like “Your Soul Is Sick” or “Let This Body Rot” display a more wailing tone backed by assisting shouts to make sure his crackling cries resonate.

Subverting a potentially overly caustic atmosphere, The Wrath It Takes sports a balanced mix and sleek production that helps the underlying hooks sink like a nail in a tire. Against dark material, Spill Your Guts keeps things fun. Stadium-shaking toms and playful rim clacks quickly give way to tremolo assaults and thundering blast beats (“Die Untied”, “Prey on Death”). Huge choruses, like on “Lift the Curse,” call in the whole gang to lend a voice, and are sure to function as a call-and-response in a live setting. And while I don’t usually condone the use of handclaps in my metal, Spill Your Guts deploys the familiar sound against and bouncy rhythms to offset the languished laryngeal lashing of the formidable rager “Pyrite”—I can’t help but smile and join.

Though they let off the gas a little in the second half, Spill Your Guts has earned enough scars along the way to call their vision a success. At a tight 30 minutes, they’ve set themselves up to play an impactful set anywhere that will have them. In the face of their home scene in Shanghai not treating them kindly, this powerful release calls for an international audience who can welcome them with open pits. Certainly, I would enjoy being a pair of hands that carries a celebrating body over the top of a crowd for these guys—and if they keep it tight and keep it punk for future outings, I’m certain they’ll cobble together another exciting album to look for in the future.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Trepanation Recordings
Websites: spillyourguts.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/spillyourgutsband
Releases Worldwide: April 25th, 2022

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