Yes, a band called Pissgrave exists and yes, that’s a very dead human being on the cover. Fifteen year old Diabolus is really stoked about how edgy this whole thing is, but much older than fifteen year old Diabolus is fairly aloof about this whole ordeal. While they’re not dressed as pirates, this is nonetheless quite gimmicky. It’s obvious from the cover, name, and praise surrounding the Philadelphia death metal band’s first full-length Suicide Euphoria that the order of the day is attempting to be as raw and disgusting as possible, which is great if they have the material to back it up and make it worthwhile. Otherwise, finding a good reason to recommend this would just be pissing in the wind grave.

It’s apparent right off the bat that Pissgrave isn’t doing anything particularly inventive, which in itself is no problem. What isn’t exactly encouraging is that once you get past the roughshod production and underneath the grime, Suicide Euphoria is essentially middle of the road Incantation a la Blasphemy with Portal’s dissonant dual-guitar insanity popping up at least once per song. Pissgrave is admittedly more riff-focused than Portal but lacks both Incantation’s skill at incorporating melody and nuance and Portal’s more inventive approach to creating webs of dissonance. In place of these aspects, more relatively straightforward dissonant tremolo picking and midtempo stomps without McEntee’s great use of pinch harmonics step up to fill the void.

Suicide Euphoria is not nearly as unpalatable as the hype train will lead you to believe. I found myself enjoying “Impaled Vibration” and the Incantation worship that comprises its introduction in addition to the Blasphemy meets Swarth crunch of the verse. Vocally, Pissgrave employs a heavy amount of distortion to attempt an almost inhuman feel, but this leads to no real variation in delivery and renders the vocals a blunt rhythmic instrument that merges into the maelstrom. It can be an interesting effect at times, but it’s incredibly limited and becomes dull after a while. The faster segments of “Perpetual War” make good use of the monotone vocals, and these fare best in achieving a frenzied and uneasy atmosphere. The ending of “Suicide Euphoria” makes a good case for Pissgrave’s style with a very satisfying medium found between Portal’s dissonance and Incantation’s riffcraft with a simple pounding drum beat that would make Kyle Severn happy.

Once you get past how bleak and unpleasant Suicide Euphoria sounds, the cracks quickly start to show. The uber-distorted growls sound like incessant vocal hits over the repeating chugging riff of “The Second Sorrowful Mystery” which gets old pretty fast, and apart from the more unhinged sounding blast-backed moments, they’re fairly grating on a whole. The songwriting left me nonplussed more often than not, as Pissgrave regularly falls into the trap of writing derivative Incantation inspired material and then switching to a Portal riff on occasion, with “Prevail in Hell” being a prime example of this. Most of the Incantation pilfering is serviceable in songs like “Mass Cremation” and “Fields of Scattered Bones,” but in such a crowded genre with Dead Congregation, Disma, and the masters themselves releasing great records along with some other quality acts and seemingly endless pretenders to the throne, there’s not much reason to stick around after seeing what all the initial fuss was about.

Pissgrave - Suicide Euphoria 02

The production does its damnedest to marry the gross-out sleeve with the music, but instead comes across as rather disingenuous. It’s not exactly pleasant to listen to, but it sounds as if the band recorded a pretty decent sounding set of tunes and then dirtied it up in post-production, and while the TT meter clocked this at DR7 throughout, it sounds like a good bit of the record was purposely redlined due to the crackling that’s fairly prevalent. Underneath the obfuscation lie guitar tones that recall mid-period Incantation, a decent distorted bass, and appealing drum tones with cymbals that aren’t washed out.

The combination of a dirty sound and provocative artwork will get Suicide Euphoria attention (as it already has), but once the novelty wears off we’re left with uninspiring death metal with often annoying vocals that exists in a large scene wherein the bar is set incredibly high. This won’t be the worst thing you’ve heard all year by a long shot, but after you and your friends have a giggle at the name and conclude that Pissgrave doesn’t suck, the appeal will fade and the search for more truly commendable death metal will begin anew.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Profound Lore Records
Websites: Too evil for the PC
Worldwide Release: August 4th, 2015

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  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Just checking, these aren’t the fellas that pissed on Dimebag’s grave by any chance?

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Thanks Carlos! Nope, nothing to do with the desecration incident. This isn’t bad enough though, Kronos needs another Autokrator!

  • Angel R. Suarez

    Nasty photographs are the great cliche which should have died with the 90’s. Anytime I see them, I know this will be an unpleasant experience.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      SNFU’s Cannibal Cafe was funny back in its day, but this cover art is just… indigestible.

  • I do not like people stew
    It makes me feel like flu
    Better they use a dragon with horns
    Or something nice, like a photo of Jorn

    • Monsterth Goatom

      “Impetuous! Homeric!”

    • Martin Knap

      straight up gangsta shit

    • PanzerFistDominatrix

      “Is it soup yet? Made from a head
      I think Daniel’s cooking the dead
      Is it soup yet? Made from the dead
      Daniel Rakowitz boiled his girlfriends head”

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Macabre?

        • PanzerFistDominatrix

          Yay, correctomundo! From Sinister Slaughter.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I’ll admit I’m not familiar with Portal. There are three such-named bands on Metal Archives – from Australia, Sweden, and the U.S. You’ve piqued my interest. If you could please recommend an album or two I can work the rest out.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Never knew of the other two! These guys are from Australia though. I like Swarth most out of their stuff, but Vexovoid was decent too. It’s weird and atmospheric music based in death metal, for lack of a better descriptor. They use guitars, drums, bass, and vocals to make their soundscapes instead of electronics or the like. It took me some getting used to. If you like them, their sister band Impetuous Ritual is worth checking out too.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Thanks, Diabolus. I’ll check these out.

        • Tom Hardy

          Vexovoid is probably Portal’s most accessible album from a new listener’s perspective. They took their style and simplified it a bit with a more straightforward direction.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Thanks.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            And cleaned up the production a bit too.

  • De2013

    Yes just like wtf am I looking at for real? Where are the days an album had just a frigging cool sphere on the cover?

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Spheres are the opposite of edgy as they are round, so one could not be used on this cover sadly.

      • PanzerFistDominatrix

        Well, this one’s kinda spherical and leaning towards an edgy cover, just saying…

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          Very edgy, but more of an oval than a sphere I think. Good ol’ Brujeria. I think they’re playing a fest this year somewhere too.

  • sir_c

    This was the first band that posted an ad that they were looking for a dead metal singer.

  • Vice-President of Hell

    what a shitty cover. even worse that first devourment and that cover with dead norwegian dude from mayhem

  • Elton Chagas

    Well, I think this band does not deserve to be compared with the mighty Incantation.

    I just can’t hear anything really enjoyable in their music.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Quality wise, you’re absolutely correct. Sound wise, it’s impossible to play this sort of stuff without taking from them I’d wager.

  • RuySan

    I don’t find the cover disgusting because I can’t even understand properly what am I looking at.

  • turksmalurks

    dude, ref incantation and portal again! orange flavoured motherfucker