Album Review: Pissgrave – Posthumous Humiliation

The cover art for this album isn’t WordPress friendly, so we had to go with the censored version. Please visit the band’s sites for the full cover.*

Review by Tyler Unterborn*

The filthy death metal trend has reached critical mass. While I’m grateful people stopped doing the HM2/Swedish sound, the thing I enjoyed about death metal was that it was the next step from thrash metal in terms of speed and intensity. Too many bands popping up in the last 4 or 5 years focus on slower speeds and atmosphere. Nothing wrong with that but I love nasty sounding death metal with speed. Now I know brutal death metal exists, but a lot of the newer bands sound super polished. So much to my surprise hearing Pissgrave a few years ago really grabbed me because it incorporated a high energy sound with the lower end production I enjoyed. When the new album was announced I had ideas of what it would be like but didn’t know what to expect and I was not disappointed in the slightest.

Posthumous Humiliation starts with Euthanasia the first single they had released a few months ago. It kicks in with a barrage of blast beats and tremolo riffs giving no solace to newcomers to the band.  Pissgrave expertly flows from one riff to the other which makes these songs feel less like a riff fest and more like a well composed song. While many of these songs incorporate a lot of similar elements, the band pushes their sound into new territories on a few tracks. The song Catacombs of Putrid Chambers focuses mainly on slower churning rhythms than head crushing speed. At 6 minutes on the dot, it doesn’t feel like a slow song compared to the others. It does get to a blast beat at a few points, but that is a light break as opposed to being the main driving force. Not only do we see Pissgrave use more slower sections, but the last track Rusted Wind ends the album with what is essentially a funeral dirge along with synths added to the mix. If you have told me there would be synths on the new Pissgrave album when it got announced I would have been mad, but it works beautifully in the context of this album and is a great closing track.

The production is similar to their first album Suicide Euphoria however this album has more clarity. The drums are not as buried in the mix as before but still have a flat or dull sound that is very punchy. The guitars slice through the mix and the tone compliments the riffs well. Overall, its reminiscent of mid 90s brutal death metal bands but in a modern package. The biggest problem a casual death metal fan will have with this band would be the vocals. Most people don’t care for pitchshifted vocals but the way Pissgrave has incorporated them it adds to their sound as opposed to sounding lazy and slopped on. The vocals aren’t ultra guttural wet slops like you would hear on a Last Days of Humanity album, but feel like the layered vocals of Deicide or Deeds of Flesh. However with songs like Posthumous Humiliation and Celebratory Defilement we get some echoed barks similar to what Revenge does. And some of the songs have the vocalist doing a more traditional goregrind sound notably on the track Catacombs of Putrid Chambers. With the tones of the guitars and bass and the flat drum sounds the vocals work well in the mix,

The final piece I wanted to discuss is the bands choice of artwork. If you saw Suicide Euphoria, you’d likely be grossed out but not disgusted (the details behind that album cover are truly horrific though). With Posthumous Humiliation they take it to another level with it being straight gore. This might turn off people but I love how simple and gross it is. This isn’t some fantasy bullshit, this is putrid sounding death metal and Pissgrave conveys that rather well with the layouts they have done. This band is as brutal as a death metal band can get without being labeled brutal death metal and I love it. This is what death metal should be like; disgusting and barbaric. Pissgrave has done it again and I only hope the next album (if there is one) won’t take three more years.

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