London's long-running hardcore warriors KARTEL are back, having gone through some lineup changes, with the followup to 2007's "Rise of the Guttersnipe" full-length. Comprised of equal parts originality and utter ferocity, "Gutter Music Vol. 1" shows the band slightly altering and diversifying their sound, yet retaining the distinctive, unique edge and trademark groove that has helped them stand out since their inception.
Over the course of "Gutter Music Vol. 1"'s 7 songs, this bleak and jaded worldview gives way for a more uplifting theme, such as on the self-explanatory mid tempo stomp of "Cope or Choke" - "You've got to stand on your own two, ain't nobody else can help you", or the weary yet angry pleas and old-school frantic speed of "Hand of Scum". Further proof of KARTEL's versatility is to be found on the immense closing track "This Thing of Ours", the band's tribute to the London Hardcore scene they have continually supported and stayed true to, as its anthemic shout-along chorus is backed up by music that goes from choppy and chugging to almost melody-tinged.