Apr 2024 30

Album CoverGusten
Album: With Disgust
Category: Punk / Metal / Electro
Label: LÆBEL
Release Date: 2024-03-01
Author: Duke Togo (Golgo13)


John R. Mirland and Claus Larsen are better known for their more established electronic efforts, so Gusten could be seen as a stylistic palate cleanser for them, opting for a raw punk and garage metal aesthetic. With Disgust is the pair’s second outing with this project, but it already seems that they’ve started to take things a little more seriously despite themselves.

While Mirland’s inexperience with guitar playing served him well the first time, it’s clear that he’s becoming more comfortable with composing riffs, though they’re still fairly rudimentary. The mid-range distortion tone that lacks the natural punch and depth of a live setting can probably be viewed as an asset, but it all ends up feeling very synthetic and programmed. The same can be said for the inconsistency in the drums, which is a shame because when he does get that almost live-sounding power on songs like “No More No Less” and “Killer In My Brain,” complete with a wonderfully corrosive bass guitar tone, it works extremely well. This is even more so on the slow and sludgy title track, as well as “Grinder,” which is one of the best stompers on With Disgust, Larsen roaring lines like “See you at the bottom of the food chain” and hooky refrain of “Suck it up.”

Throughout the album, Larsen delivers his gruffest “punk/rock” voice, and while he’s never been particularly heralded for vocal prowess or finesse, it’s not required here. Even so, there are moments that he manages a decent melody, like on the atmospheric ballad of “Suburban Suicide,” or on “Fools Gold,” which… wait a minute, this is a rather poppy bit of electro/EBM – did an Am Tierpark song get repurposed for Gusten? Most likely. Hell, this song could’ve worked for Larsen’s Die Klute project with Jürgen Engler and Dino Cazares; it’s placement here is a bit dubious, but as he sings, “It’s all a glitch, man.” Some of the song titles and lyrics seem to also aim for a sardonic and darkly metal vibe like the opening “Dance of Death,” “Mass of Fear,” “Kingdom’s of the Damned,” or the flippant “Satan Baby.” It’s rather cute and not particularly clever, but still fun.

With Disgust may be angrier than the 2021 self-titled debut, but it’s hardly heavier or dirtier as the duo seems to purport. And really, that’s okay given their collective pedigree, and it is admittedly more difficult to recapture a youthful exuberance and abandon at their age. But hey, at least fans of Mirland and Larsen should enjoy it.
Track list:

  1. Dance of Death
  2. Fused
  3. Grinder
  4. Excuses and Lies
  5. Fools Gold
  6. No More No Less
  7. Mass of Fear
  8. Suburban Suicide
  9. Reflections of Indifference
  10. A Deadly Scent
  11. With Disgust
  12. Satan Baby
  13. Killer In My Brain
  14. Underneath it All
  15. Kingdoms of the Damned

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