Gouge Away's 'Burnt Sugar' is Vulnerable Confrontation
There hadn’t been much news from Gouge Away since the release of their first album, "Dies" in 2016. The album was a defining moment for the band and brought them to the surface from the underground Florida hardcore scene. After a much anticipation, the band finally released their second album, "Burnt Sugar" this September. This album finds itself stepping away from traditional hardcore and into a more punk/grunge space. With one foot in hardcore and the other in punk, Gouge Away has made some major changes to their sound and that makes it all the more exciting to listen to Burnt Sugar.
With looser yet still heavy baselines and tempos that fluctuate from song to song, it’s more unpredictable than a lot of hardcore styled music. Vocalist, Christina Michelle's voice is much more raw and extreme in certain songs, and it seems as though she's singing off beat on purpose. In a more literal sense, she seems to be screaming her truth throughout the album.
The lyrical content throughout the album tells of a wounds taking their time to heal. Subjects of depression, paranoia and even tales of dark victories are covered. One of my favorite songs from the album is, "Hey Mercy" in which the ending lines go, "But you begged God for mercy/ Just to find that she is me/ You'll be calling me an artist by the way I draw blood". There is nothing subtle about it. It's confrontational. It's explaining a situation in which you're serving someone all the pain they caused you and the doubt they had in you back to them on a steaming hot plate.
Another one of my favorite tracks is, "Can't Relate" where the doubt in ourselves is exposed. "I wish I was resilient/ Wish I didn't harp on it/ But I can't help it/ I can't take care of this mind that won't take care of me". The title is surely satirical as it's probably the most relatable songs on the album. When dealing with depression, no matter where it derives from, we doubt ourselves and the space where our head is can be a scary place to be. It can be hard to take care of ourselves when our minds feel so mangled.