With an album cover that one is confronted with rather than willing to look at, it took me a long while to actually give the début album from death metal group Pissgrave a listen, having been released last summer. And it’s a shame I left it so long, as it’s an absolute beast of an album, melding the best parts of early Decide, Incantation and Blasphemy to create old school death metal with a war metal aesthetic, with a release that’s unbelievably depraved, violent and brutal.
Pissgrave play death metal rooted firmly in the old school with a raw and noisy war-metal production, loud and vicious, they hammer in your skull with their unrelenting and uncompromising sound. They have a huge meaty yet trebly guitar tone, the vehicle for their brutal riffage – which can be made out despite the uncompromising production, and while not overly technical, Pissgrave are anything from being tone over substance. The riffing style is mostly like that of early Deicide, though at points such as of Field of Scattered Bones there’s a less down-tuned Incantation vibe to it. Lead guitar is sporadic throughout the album, but when there are solos such as on the end of Pain Enchantment they’re at blistering pace and again in the vein of Deicide.Drums are mostly blunt force blastbeats in true war-metal style, especially on Prevail in Hell.
While for the most part the blunt force assault is delivered at speed, there are some slower death/doom passages here and there, but rather than giving a chance to relent, they’re dark, creepy and filthy as hell with something of an Autopsy vibe to them. The vocals are another highlight of the album, they’re as deep and guttural as it can get, think ex-Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes’ kicked up another notch. The lyrics throughout are completely incomprehensible, the forceful guttural barking serving as just another instrument for in your face brutality that Pissgrave use to hammer in your skull. But if they’re anywhere near as disturbing as the album art it’s for the best that we can’t understand them.
There’s great variation between tracks, with the pick of the bunch being Fields of Scattered Bones, with the clearest Incantation influence of the lot and lots of slower, deeper riffage that creates a truly caustic atmosphere while still leaving room for moments of all out speed. Impaled Vibration may not be as dense, but it’s no less creepy with a mix of simple monotone riffs and almost catchy melodies, while shortest track Prevail in Hell is an all out speed assault. Mass Cremation is another highlight, a cacophonous racket of fast frantic guitars and blastbeats, with a great rhythmic quality to the barks over the top.
The melding of oldschool death metal with the traits of a war metal sound have made for a unique sounding and brilliant extreme release that’s not for the faint hearted. Sheer, nasty and uncompromising brutality.
Suicide Euphoria can be streamed/purchased below. Pissgrave can be found on facebook here.