Hammerfest 2015: Gurt, Spider Kitten & Dysteria
The edition of Hard Rock Hell Doom to this year's festival is an inspired one and it's shown immediately with Gurt pulling in one of the biggest crowds of the entire weekend. While you could argue that may be in part due to the fact that, at one o'clock on the Friday afternoon, the AOR and Hammerfest stages were yet to open, but the fact that people made the effort to witness the band's sludgey bludgeoning speaks volumes.
Fronted by none other than Jesus H Christ, Gurt are nothing short of excellent. The London wrecking crew was through treacle thick riffs, infested with the spirit of their main influences - mainly Electric Wizard, Crowbar and Eyehategod. It's slow but ultimately forceful.
The packed room is dense with a murky fog as they smash through their set - Dave Blakemore's fuzz-flecked bass tone resembles that of an elephant shamelessly breaking wind. Alongside Bill Jacobs' tight, pristine drum work, there is nothing more fitting to underpin this band. Occasional bursts of pace that defy their largely pedestrian pace leave you gobsmacked while the lead melodies that scrape atop the mix are simplistic but cut deep into your flesh. Conclusively however, it's their droning boom that is most important and most staggeringly effective here. A fantastic set.
They keep talk to a minimum, allowing their music further voice. The Welsh band, formed in Cardiff in 2001, state that their songs are pop songs deep, deep down. As musicians, they are hardly the greatest - singer Chris Lameo plays his six string with one finger for the most part - but as songwriters they are very impressive. There's a hypnotic magnetism to them which simply can't be ignored.