The current state of the world has left many of us unable to separate the days. The shift from a bed to a table/desk to a couch and back to bed, with little activity in between, is a weirdly draining form of life. The monotony can sap any drive you may have even for the most necessary of activities like washing dishes or putting together a meal. Hell, even staying awake while clacking away at a keyboard can be a tall task many an afternoon.
Gravesend’s debut album, Methods of Human Disposal, is a primo 27-minute slab of ugly heaviness that acts as a great method for disposing of your to-do list. The odd decision to start the album with a synth intro followed by an instrumental that momentarily seems like the opening for a sludge record might have you thinking they consulted Trey Azagthoth for sequencing. Once the title track kicks in, however, you will find this New York three-piece is quite adept at creating bite-sized slabs of death coated in hues of grind and gritty blackness.
Like Tomb Mold, Gravesend are big fans of cramming roughly 10 different riffs into a very short period of time while their sound and style fall more in line with a, ahem, grindier take on Trenchgrinder. That’s particularly true for vocalist A’s blackened croaky style in a band that is more firmly rooted in death. Fret not, though; backup vocalist and bassist S offers the occasional subterranean crocodile gurgle on tracks like “Ashen Piles of the Incinerated” and “Scum Breeds Scum” to keep things grimy.
Despite most songs clocking in around two minutes, Gravesend prove not to be a one-trick pony. They offer up snippets of D-beat (“Ashen Piles of the Incinerated”), Bolt Thrower mid-paced grooves (“Trinity Burning”), black metal tinged riffs (“Needle Park”), unhinged grindcore blasting (“Unclaimed Remains”) and even some open hardcore stomping that will surely incite some ill-advised crowd killing. I’ve attached songs to each of those aspects to highlight some of the more clear examples, but each of these elements crops up throughout Methods of Human Disposal.
I know I took a jab at the order of the opening two tracks, but the rest of the sequencing on this album is actually quite good at spreading out their stylistic influences throughout the full listen. “Verrazano Floater” offers up a heavy dose of hardcore pit pleasing before Gravesend drops into a noise-drenched synth track in “Eye For An Eye,” which opens the way to repeated guitar slides, a slick Bolt Thrower head crusher of a riff and a full-tilt sprint of speed to close during “Trinity Burning.”
One of the highlights of the album has to be the drums. While the differences in subgenre influences on the riffs may sometimes be either too subtle or run by too quickly, G’s drumming seamlessly shifts in the blink of an eye. In particular, his cymbal work is downright entertaining as he knows precisely when to crash them like a bull in a china shop or flit across them like a butterfly flapping around a blooming riff. My only minor gripe with the drums comes down to how dominant the snare is in the mix. The vast majority of the time it’s fine, but when G goes into jackhammer blast mode it can overwhelm the rest of the instruments leaving the details of the riff in the dust. Luckily, it doesn’t happen as often as you would think even though Gravesend are primarily a death metal and grindcore band.
The word filth shows up in the lyrics to Methods of Human Disposal quite a bit. While I’m sure Gravesend didn’t spend countless hours crafting their debut with your filthy home in mind, it sure does make one hell of a soundtrack to decimating dust, mold and caked-on food when you no longer thought you possessed the will to be cleanly anymore.