Pissgrave – s/t (Graceless Recordings, 2014)


Being filthy ain’t easy.  Most metal bands that attempt it usually just end up sounding incompetent and under-produced, or worse yet like they’re trying way too hard.  For Philadelphia’s Pissgrave, being filthy is as effortless as falling out of bed.  Their debut demo, which has been committed to tape by the mighty Graceless Recordings, is positively oozing with it; this is no mere affectation, this is who they are.

Literally everything about this demo, from the repulsive cover art to the corrosive, diseased-sounding death metal found within, speaks to an obsession with all things ugly and perverse, and it’s refreshing to hear a band who sounds like they actually mean it.  The music possesses a frenzied, feverish quality, giving one the impression that Pissgrave aren’t just playing their instruments, they’re beating the living shit out of them.  Even when they slow things down, it’s still frighteningly barbaric.

As nasty and primitive as this demo is, Pissgrave prove themselves to be proficient composers; rather than just whipping up an indistinguishable whirlwind of bestial death, the band has crafted a batch of songs that will get stuck in your head even as it’s being lopped off and smashed to bloody bits.  The riffs often recall oldschool Florida death metal, albeit with an extra layer or two of grit ‘n’ grime and are undoubtedly the demo’s focal point, while the solos are of the piercing, Slayer-eque variety; drums and vocals are buried behind the ungodly distortion.  Music this abrasive shouldn’t be so catchy, but once again, Pissgrave make it seem easy.

Graceless Recordings has been unearthing some seriously disgusting, disturbing music of late, and of everything I’ve heard so far, Pissgrave is among my favorites, not to mention one of my all-round favorite death metal releases so far this year.  I haven’t attempted it yet, but I imagine this would pair well with Imperial Savagery’s recent debut album for a truly gruesome twosome of sickening oldschool death metal.  The tape is out now via Graceless, and as far as I can tell this is the only format it’s currently available on, so if you’re not down with that you’re fucked.



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