Under the moniker of Beastmilk, the band that is now Grave Pleasures instantly seared itself into the rock landscape with a stunning EP release in 'Use Your Deluge' and the follow-up full-length debut 'Climax' Blending post-punk, proto-goth / death rock, and elements of black and doom metal giving themselves a lot to live up to. The band then had a re-shuffle, changed their name, signed a new record deal and have hit even harder with their latest output 'Dreamcrash'. It's arguable as to whether is is in essence a debut or a sophomore album, but that minor complication is by-the-by. 'Dreamcrash' consolidates all the effort the band made under the Beastmilk moniker, expands on it, and focuses its gaze on the horizon.
Icy cold atmospheres, sinister jangling guitars, tribal drums, palpitating bass lines, and the distinctive emotional evocations of vocalist Mat “Kvohst” McNerney come together in such a perfect way. There is nothing forced or contrived. The band feel like they have always been together it sounds so natural. There is a hell of a lot to get your teeth into here with its rich and textured melodies and rhythms swirling around a varied and engaging vocal performance.
Songs such as 'New Hip Moon', 'Crying Wolves', 'Crisis', 'Worn Threads', 'Lipstick On Your Tombstone', 'Girl In A Vortex', and 'No Survival' form the backbone of the record blending raw emotion with desperate aggression that brings to mind early Siouxsie And The Banshees, Joy Division, Killing Joke, Patti Smith, Echo And the Bunnymen, Jesus And Mary Chain, and The Cure but manages to sound completely unique and original at all times.
With a metal pedigree running through the band's DNA, there is a slick modern production that lets the heaviness of the songwriting come across without dulling the edge of their savage melodies. It is a distinctly approachable album. Metalheads can get behind the deep, bleak, black metal atmosphere, while goths and fans of post-punks can engage in the pop-tinged eclectic rock at its core.
'Dreamcrash' is an album that has successfully surpassed expectations. Any worries about the line up change and subsequent re-branding of the band are instantly dispelled and all that is left behind is some of the best gothic-tinged post-punk released in years – and what has to be a contender for album of the year. Grave Pleasures have all the tools needed to become a worldwide musical force breathing life into the dark side of rock music once more.