Tuesday 31 October 2017

Review: Grave Pleasures – 'Motherblood'


The rise of Grave Pleasures has been... well, a pleasure. As a long-time fan of gothic/post-punk sounds, as well as a follower of some of the members of this band's previous projects it has been great to see them take a raw and quite frankly old school sound and drag it screaming into the 21st century. From their formation as Beastmilk and their early apocalyptic raw works through to their dark refinement into Grave Pleasures the band have created some great albums, the third of which 'Motherblood' sees them firmly establish themselves as a major force.

The album is a nice progression from their second outing (first as Grave Pleasures), Dreamcrash, which had smoothed-off some of their rougher edges and seen their cold war punk manifesto augmented by dark and dreamlike 80s indie embellishments. 'Motherblood' builds on these refinements but still maintains that link to the early work that made them immediately stand out.

Songs such as 'Infatuation Overkill', 'Be My Hiroshima', 'Joy Through Death', 'Laughing Abyss', 'Falling For An Atom Bomb', 'Deadenders', and 'Haunted Afterlife' provide the album with a backbone of haunting post-punk anthems that keeps those original influences prominent but maintains and expands that vision and refinement that was evident on 'Dreamcrash'.

The result is a cold, paranoid, dream-like mix of post-punk, proto-goth, cold wave and indie that is underpinned by the band's now signature use of jangling guitars, tribal drums, palpitating bass lines, and the distinctive emotional evocations of vocalist Mat “Kvohst” McNerney.

In terms of production the band have never sounded better. There is still a gritty post-punk core to the songs but they're so refined and high-quality now that they sound timeless rather than old school. The sound is sleek and modern, and it balances the dichotomy of sound within the band of raw visceral energy with expert precision.

'Motherblood' is another brilliant album from a band who seem to be on an unstoppable rise. They have effectively evolved and consolidated their sound without losing sight of what it was that initially made them stand out. So far every one of their albums has been worthy of being called a classic, and 'Motherblood' is no exception.  

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