“They are quintessential American thrash.” – AR Wolfe, BRP Re:VIEW’s
Four guys with long scraggly hair took the stage and from the first counts of the high-hat to their closing number nearly an hour later—they owned it. These four guys collectively go by Gürschach and they want you to buy their shirts. Gürschach is an East Bay experimental thrash metal band, and the second band perform at the Thursday June 22nd metal showcase Indoctrinate the Masses.
Their material harkens back to heavy metal classics when 5 and 6 minute run-times weren’t a crime, strong riffs where in abundance, and you could hit a bum note here and there because you were working so hard for the crowd they didn’t care. Nodes of Testament and Slayer where audible in the vocals, one riff brimmed with the addictive melodiousness of Iron Maiden, while others where clear throwbacks to Metallica. And although these associations where easily made, none of it was unoriginal. Gürschach has definitely forged their own sound—using more modern techniques to reinvent the wheel and the result is a positive one. They are quintessential American thrash metal.
Their lead vocalist and guitarist is the epitome of what a frontman should be- confident, commanding, expressive and entertaining. The vocal styling he employs invokes the sounds of heavy metal’s founding fathers, while their observably practiced comfort and control over their instruments give them the freedom to really let loose in the thick of a tune, resulting in an incredibly physical stage show.
However, I have to admit near the 40 minute mark things felt a little procedural to the ear leading me to suspect the tenacity of their live performances doesn’t quite translate to record. Nevertheless their live show was so entertaining I didn’t care. Gürschach is explosive, unafraid, and at home on stage. They’re in your face, true performers; creating the atmosphere, then feeding off the levels of energy from the crowd that they’ve inspired. From crowd chants, to epic guitar solo face-offs, and massive amounts of full on head body banging Gürschach captivates an audience and makes them forget they’re in some hole in the wall watching a local metal show as the glare of the setting sun pierces cafe windows. They perform as if doing so for a sea of people. It’s that commitment to showmanship alone that leaves me convinced Gürschach is better suited for likes of stadiums and festivals.
And they’re the real deal. They’ve got the image to and attitude to back it up. In an era when a self-absorbed 20 something decked out in the latest hipster trends is shockingly part of the metal band, it’s great to see some bands are committed to the deeper ethos of the genre. Because metal is so much more than a genre, it really is a life-stye, an ideology, a community, and those who align with it merely use the vehicle of music to express and unite. When I asked the crowd (who was lethargically seated on couches, and this had a lot to do with massive problems with the house P.A. that was taking forever to resolve) to basically show some respect for the first act who was pouring their hearts out on stage, it was the members of Gürschach who came to the front first. And that’s what I’m talking about. That self-assuredness and sense of community is what metal is all about. It’s part of one’s individual character that allows them to identify with heavy metal in the first place, and it simply comes out in Gürschach’s music (and makes for one hell of a show), because that’s who they really are.
The Bay Area is the literal cradle of thrash with bands like Exodus, Testament and Metallica establishing the genre in sweaty SF clubs and to this day calling it home, and Gürschach carries on this tradition, busting the myth that thrash metal is long since extinct. So next time you see the name Gürschach on a bill, don’t be mislead by the umlaut. Do yourself a favor; get a ticket, and don’t forget to bring a few extra bucks to buy their shirts. -AR Wolfe, BRP Reviews (6.22.17)
Watch excerpts from Gürschach’s performance:
For more Gürschach visit:
Official Website: www.gurschach.com
Encyclopaedia Metallum: https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/…