Beyond the glamour, there is a grime to New York City—a world where tourists wouldn’t dare to venture. Where crime and injustice linger in the shadows, and the desperate cry out for hope. It’s this stark reality that Gravesend put on display in the tracks on their debut album, Methods Of Human Disposal.
In opening track “Fear City,” an ominous synthesizer plays out, creating the sense that something villainous approaches. A vocal sample plays out, exuding an abrasive, disorienting tension. The following track “STH-10” cuts to a steady pounce of drums, all before unleashing a fuming guitar rhythm. The drumming amplifies at key moments, further elevating the menacing air. By the time the title cut kicks off, Gravesend have descended into pure obscenity. Ghoulish, shrieking vocals cry out under a distorted, sludgy guitar rhythm, with grimy texture of bass and drums thundering underneath. This music is foul and ferocious.
New York City’s Gravesend embrace elements of grindcore, death metal, some sludge, and even a bit of noise throughout Methods Of Human Disposal. Of the 15 tracks on the record, there is a relentless, consistent aura of depravity. This album gets under the skin. Much of the rhythmic work is that of pure pummeling; that isn’t to say there is no finesse, but the band primarily stick to obliterating the eardrums with their ferocious delivery. The guitar presence provides enough inflection in tone to offer some level of freshness to each track. Vocals play perfectly off the instrumentation, providing an additional layer to the dirty presentation. The overall formula to songs is similar throughout, but with enough technical variations taking place in the record, Gravesend save themselves from becoming monotony. Though, that being said, there aren’t many leftfield surprises among these songs. It does help a great deal that all these tracks are digestible, with none reaching the three-minute mark.
Regardless of repetition though, the oppressive atmosphere the band have set out to create is strong. Gravesend’s craft is discomfort. Listening to “Eye For An Eye” can be unnerving; the loud distortion and disturbing vocal shrieks are otherworldly, and yet, strangely inviting. “Absolute Filth” is one of the more barbaric cuts, its speed and frenetic instrumentation unleashing a hysteric air. And for as much devastation as the band release, album closer “Concrete Feet” feels like a further descent into hopelessness. The overwhelming feeling that something is haunting the listener through these tracks becomes ever-present with each guttural scream, wicked riff, and battering of drums.
At the heart of this record is pure savagery and grit. Even in its less inspiring periods, it still provides an exhilarating rush of grinding death metal. With Methods Of Human Disposal, Gravesend offer an auditory guide into the darkness and grime of New York City.
Label: 20 Buck Spin
A graduate of Columbia College Chicago's Creative Writing Program, Michael Pementel is a published music journalist, specializing in metal and its numerous subgenres. Along with his work for Treble and Bloody Disgusting, he has also written for Consequence of Sound, Metal Injection, Dread Central, Electronic Gaming Monthly and the Funimation blog.