Gravesend – Methods of Human Disposal


You might think Gravesend are named after the town in Kent when you hear the dialogue sample of an English hooligan threatening to break somebody’s nose in the opening minute of ‘Fear City’. But this debut release is pure New York in its anti-gentrification venom. The trio of publicity-shy musicians behind the music want you to see the dark urban decay of the Big Apple, much in the same way Imperial Triumphant use the contradictions and extreme wealth disparity of the great city as their reason to vent.

Methods of Human Disposal is a violent album, much like the New York of the early 1980s when muggings and crack dens were as commonplace as the city slickers making millions in leverage buy out deals. Yet Gravesend prefer the raw death metal of Autopsy and Necrophagia instead of the brutality of Suffocation for their aural assault. Make no mistake: this is the death metal envisioned by the bands who listened to Hellhammer back in the day. The solemn execution parade drums and distorted bass of ‘STH-10’ grind like the chains of a water well in need of lubrication. ‘End of the Line’ and the title track mix early Carcass with raw black metal, while ‘Ashen Piles of the Incinerated’ embraces a punky death metal that has more in common with Discharge than Deicide. ‘Subterranean Solitude’ is what a hardcore band would sound like if they decided to cover Celtic Frost’s Morbid Tales album. The guitarist is fond of pick slides but keeps his fingers at the lower end of the fretboard to coat the music in a foul racket of distorted fifth chords.

Only four of the fifteen songs breach the two-minute mark, and that’s a good thing. The band are also clever enough to grant the listener an interregnum at track eight, with an unsettling loop of dungeon synths and noises from a rat infestation. ‘Absolute Filth’ lives up to its title, yet the guitarist thrashes away on the middle strings for the one and only time on the album and slashes the bridge of his guitar with the intensity of a woodchopper. Perhaps the most unique thing about this music is the way Gravesend use the guitar in a percussive manner with short and thunderous punches for the drummer to accent with maniacal delight. ‘Concrete Feet’ is a fine example of this violent approach, which sounds like a bunch of punks playing death metal.

The idea of melody is anathema to Gravesend. They want to smother you in a slagheap of grime and filth. For the first eight songs this works wonders, but the latter half of the record starts to drag. ‘Needle Park’ and ‘The Grave’s End’ are forgettable snippets of grindcore laced with primitive death metal. You might start looking at your wristwatch for the last four songs, but you should persist. The band have much to offer and enough power to keep you in a state of awe for most of the experience.

This record may be primitive, nasty and unforgiving, but it also has its charms. Those seeking a more authentic grind of extreme metal without the technical indulgence and mastery of Pro Tools will feel their eyes bulge.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 19/02/2021

Record Label: 20 Buck Spin

Standout tracks: STH-10, Verrazano Floater, Absolute Filth

Suggested Further Listening: Necrophagia – Holocausto De La Morte (1998), Disabled – The Final Exhumation (2020), Tenebro – Liberaci dal Male EP (2021)