With the tally marks scratched onto a pitch-black wall with surrounding ethereal faces that stand before a weeping figure, Gulch is an authority in desolation with their imagery before the beatdown of sound could ever commence. The Santa Cruz outfit is a five-piece of misery that erupts through hardcore and harsh undertones that dissect their 2018 release, Burning Desire To Draw Last Breath into perfectly cut, even squares.
Making waves within the underground scene, Gulch is steadily rising to become this monumental crash that begins with this creeping atmospheric instrumental track. “Contemplate / Enact” is a subtle fade in-and-out of consciousness that is almost otherworldly. The track does not feel human as it slides into this foreboding monster with shrieks and wails of electrical failure which then transitions into “Flesh Pursuit.” Immediately there is a connection to power violence with these blast beats on the percussion and sudden grinds of guitar and a bass that kicks the listener through the wall. As the vocals become introduced, Burning Desire To Draw Last Breath is a spine busting suplex through break downs and short, but intricate tracks.
The release is six tracks which stem just barely over 13-minutes and that is quite honestly all that is needed for a formal presentation from Gulch. Their playstyle is often a constricting flow of airtight synchronicity and is more of an orchestrated chaos movement than anything of direct formation. Gulch appears more as an untamable creature that takes sudden dives as they explore these caverns of noise. Lyrically, they are destructive and care more about immolation which is described entirely through shouts and rage. “Ever present thoughts of suicide, looming urge of self-extermination. Hypnotism of the soul and mind, the body is a temple that is dammed to demolition,” is explained on their track “E.P.T.S.” which is a love-letter to dying and punishment.
Through Burning Desire To Draw Last Breath, the ever-burning ideas of contemplation are non-existent from Gulch. They act entirely on instinct and completely pulverize every last morsel of that which lays in front of them. Moving quickly through the record and seemingly without any foreseeable signs of mercy, Gulch immediately earns their spot of land through brute force.
When the end is finally in sight, Gulch lets the levees break in this collapse of crashing walls and burning palaces. It feels immensely evil and brings a smile to the face as the final crunch of bone lies underneath. With dirt being thrown on the casket, the closing of the grave means a new awakening for Gulch as another life seems closer than before.