Pissgrave, where to start. I guess the name is a good a place as any. If you haven’t already gleaned some priory knowledge as to what this band is going to sound like from their name then you might be new to the death metal genre. Their own Bandcamp page describes the band as “one of the rawest, most depraved, immoral, and violent bands in present-day death metal” and I would be hard pressed describing them more articulately than that, however, I am going to try.
Besides the name, one of the first things you will notice about Posthumous Humiliation is the album cover. I have hoped many times that the cover is just some clay remodel but I have my doubts. We might have to avoid showing it as part of this review but if you want to ruin your lunch for the day then popping over to their Bandcamp will aid in that. Whenever I listen to the album now I promptly turn off my phone screen or scroll of the bottom of the page to avoid accidentally staring at the cover for too long. Though I do not enjoy looking at the album cover, I would say it is most appropriate for the abattoir of sounds that will be emanating off this record for the next forty or so minutes.
To dig into the meat of this album, let me give my first impressions on the music. As the first track “Euthanasia” hit, huge waves of Cryptopsy nostalgia overcame me. The intro of this album, although reminiscent of one my favourite death metal bands, seems to rip even harder with the production tearing at my ears and summoning images of gore and lacerated flesh. For the most part, this sense of being pounded with a brick in your face does not end until you either put off the album or manage to make it to the final track. On my first few listens to this album I actually struggled to make out the difference between most of the songs and the experience just seemed to meld into one ultra-violent mess but after repeated listens I started to pick out more and more moments that caught my attention.
My biggest criticism at first would have to be the lack of dynamic. Now this may seem strange as the band is almost definitely aiming for this effect but I really do have a penchant for rises and falls in music; some of my favourite death metal acts being bands such as Cryptopsy, Suffocation, and Spawn of Possession. Although these bands all deliver a massive and unrelenting sound, I also really appreciate the break in tempo and instrumentation that a lot of my favourite songs from these bands present. Something about a single, clean guitar break that brings us straight back to the brutality makes the music seem even heavier when it returns.
Pissgrave basically aurally assaults you for most of the album before they deliver the last track on this release, which in contrast to the rest of the music, has a very uplifting Old School Death Metal (OSDM) sound to it that comes through at roughly 2 minutes in. Though I present this album as a blast fest from start to finish, I think a lot of this has to do with the production of the music. The sound of the guitars and vocals are grotesque and the drums and bass monstrous and before finishing the album my ears are physically tired from the quality of the sound. This is one of the few instances where I would say the band’s live footage is better and easier to listen to than their album. I definitely think this is a choice on the band’s part and a choice that completely suits what they are trying to do, but it doesn’t change the fact that this album is sometimes quite hard to finish and almost never a twice a day listen. I have listened to the entirety of this album about five times and I still find it hard to palate, though with each repeated listen I find I am hearing more nuance to the songwriting as well as finding the production easier to stomach.
If you are looking for an album that will assault you, then mug you and leave you on the side of the road to be eaten by zombie dogs then this is the album for you. If you are not a fan of brutal or technical death metal then this album will probably do nothing for you. If you are like me, you will be initially disgusted by this release, but you’ll find yourself thinking about it more and more each day and grow acclimatised to it like some sort of foul-smelling cheese that you used to hate but now can’t stop thinking about in your sleep.