Viciously grisly, maliciously filthy
Gravesend, one of the more overlooked contemporary death metal outfits, return once again with their anguished brand of extreme-metal misery on their newest release, a fleshed-out, conclusion to their debut, Preparations for Human Disposal (2020). Named after an aptly titled Brooklyn neighborhood founded by a 17th century Puritan named Lady Moody and known for being the birthplace of Type O Negative, Gravesend have been one of the newest purveyors of the modern death and black metal underground scene.
Over the course of 27 minutes and 15 tracks on Methods Of Human Disposal (2021), Gravesend make a lot of things clear. First of all, they have no problem wearing their influences on their sleeve in many aspects, even if they range across the extreme metal spectrum. There are as equal parts of Bolt Thrower and Tomb Mold as there are Undergang and Sanguisugabogg. Everything shouts blackened death metal, but the songs also share much in common with grindcore, as the longest track length is actually well under three minutes.
Fundamentally, the album is unmistakably a work of vicious, bitter death metal. That’s made obvious from the start of the title track (the first ‘real’ song), followed by the odd placement of a dungeon synth-opening track and a consequential instrumental track. This violently fast style continues on through lightning-speed pacing, speckling in remastered and remixed tracks from their debut, such as the previous closer “End Of The Line,” now put halfway into the record.
Oftentimes, the songs, which may be too short for their own good, feature their own distinct characteristics that are impertinent in order to differentiate them from the wave of chaotic frenzy that the album is as a whole. This is especially true of various hardcore elements, such as the D-beat or mosh sections present in “Verrazano Floater,” “Trinity Burning” and “Needle Park,” yet with the pizzazz of the guitarist-vocalist’s distant, harsh vocals, and the bassist’s deep, guttural backing vocals popping up here and there. Their names, you ask? A and S, respectively, alongside the drummer, who goes simply by G.
This is equally true for the grindcore elements that have slowly but surely become more and more prevalent in death and black metal, such as in “Absolute Filth,” “Unclaimed Remains” and “The Grave’s End,” showcasing some particularly impressive and catastrophic snare drum work.
“Scum Breeds Scum” remains one of the more riff-oriented tracks, bookended with blast beats and the sort; no real surprise here. This is followed by the album concluding on a syncopated, built-up section on “Concrete Feet” that just fades out rather than reaching a climax.
Moreover, Methods Of Human Disposal is first and foremost just an extreme metal album. There is no Mr. Bungle-esque genre-bending hell that shocks anyone, since the album is mostly consistent. Sure, it’s not the absolute finest and most artistic work of heavy music, but it doesn’t need to be. Gravesend are just here to solidify and thusly continue harnessing their blend of the essentials of death metal: breakneck tempos and dirty guitar riffs, as well as black metal’s bare-bone necessities of blast beats and a gritty sonic assault via lo-fi production.
Best said, from Gravesend’s Bandcamp;
“An aural manifesto of urban blight and disgust, “Methods Of Human Disposal” works like a lone killer stalking the streets, internally seething with rage, preparing to cast off the last remnants of restraint. Bear witness to savage Black / Death Metal with a hellish Grindcore fixation, searing warped speeds, and the slowly swelling carnage of a derailed subway pile up.
Like the centuries old cemetery that bears its name, the fetid stench of death and decay permeates Gravesend and the predatory wrath and inhumanity embodied in “Methods Of Human Disposal” holds up a shattered mirror reflecting back the filth and corruption of a New York that never really went away.”