Album Review: The Kut – Valley of Thorns

The Kut are a London based three-piece band created by multi-instrumentalist Princess Maha and they are about to release their full-length debut record, Valley of Thorns. A concept created with the help of Pledge Music and an ever-growing fanbase acquired through years of touring. I’m not gonna lie, I’m excited about this record, I saw them live at Camden Rocks a few years back and interviewed them while we searched for their car.

Since The Kut formed, the odd line-up change has occurred while frontperson Princess Maha remains at the helm. Now with Diana Bartmann on the sticks and Stella Vie on bass they blend a garage rock persona to the forefront of their grunge sound. Grunge is a tough genre to be associated with, but their 2015 EP Rock Paper Scissors began the warming of my formally teenage angst-ridden heart and made me realise the genre still has a part to play in this generation’s music.

First single release, “Mind Games” premiered on Johnny Doom’s Kerrang Radio show and has rotational airplay through the UK and Europe. The tune contains a wealth of dirty garage riffs, the drumming and Maha’s angst ridden vocals edge it with a touch of pop. “Hollywood Rock N Roll” is a superb live track – you’ll chant “Hollywood rock n roll o oh o oh” without even realising you’re doing it. The pace is fast and these musicians don’t hold back.

Diana Bartmann’s drumming thunders beautifully for “I Want You Maniac” against the form of Maha’s guitar riffs. This would be perfect as a backing tune to the burning of a dollhouse. I love Stella Vie’s bass on “Love in The Rush Hour”. It settles the tone with a melancholic melody and snippets of an 80s Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet feel.

Maha’s vocals on “X-Ray Eyes” is full of emotion and could rip chords with her passion. You feel the blood, sweat and tears Maha’s put into making this band work with the incessant gigs, leading to a record deal with Cargo. There are subtle touches of early Offspring in “Bad Man” as Maha screams “Bad man’s gone bad“, a live favourite, with Stella Vie’s bass. It’s dark, broody and full on filth driven punk rock that L7 (who I love) would be proud of performing. A wash may be needed after this heavy, dark and full on “screw you” with a middle finger raised in the air.

Valley of Thorns finishes with “Mario”. Showing growth of The Kut and Princess Maha, the energy of live shows is portrayed on record. James Loughrey (Skindred / Def Leppard / White Zombie / My Vitriol) is the man behind the production of this album. An overnight process for the band, they’ve been here for a few years, and 2018 is going to be huge in the journey of The Kut.

Valley of Thorns is out on May 4th

The Kut: official | facebook | twitter | bandcamp

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