Gravesend
Gowanus Death Stomp

If somehow Gravesend’s previous album, Methods of Human Disposal, didn’t catch your eye with its artwork of a nun holding a newspaper with the headline “Pope Shot,” perhaps their new album Gowanus Death Stomp will. If you were able to get through my introductory run-on sentence, good for you. Good for all of us.

Good for Gravesend, most of all. They’re classified on Metal Archives as “black metal/grindcore,” and it’s not the first time they’ve been wrong. I would call them death/grind, but we’re likely just splitting hairs. However, maybe the only thing “blackened” here are the blast beats, which are also in death metal. I digress.

On that note, my first track to highlight is “Even A Worm Will Turn.” It’s longer, relatively speaking, than expected at 2 ½ minutes. The vocals are reverb-drenched and menacing. The music is frenetic, but a minute or so in brings the important groove section of almost any grindcore song I enjoy. It lasts for the remainder.

Tracks 6 and 7 make for one hell of a one-two punch. The title track is the former, which is nasty and groovy from the start. Pick slides are used effectively as well. It’s obvious why it’s the title track as it’s one of the best on offer. The latter, “Streets of Destitution,” travels along that same path. The opening, however, makes me think of death metal along the lines of Cannibal Corpse. That certainly doesn’t last, though. It’s safe to say Gravesend hits their stride at this point.

Only a couple of tracks later is “Crown of Tar,” which has a spoken word, occasionally strummed bass and ambient intro. It’s the longest track on the album, and that bass presence stays throughout peeking its way through the mix. There are some nearly Abbath style croaks in the vocals, but like the best tracks on the album, this one has a significant amount of slower groove.

The second longest track is the next one I’ll mention. “Vermin Victory,” sits near the end, and it’s fast-as-fuck, but with a sneaky background guitar melody. That’s about as close to a chorus as you’re getting. However, it’s not all speed as it slows for the final minute, which segues into the ambient closer.

I’m on the fence regarding purchasing the album. I purchased the first one during one of my favorite local record store’s annual sales. However, that’s 7 months away. There’s plenty to like here, but perhaps it’s my hangup that grind rarely sticks with me. It’s one of those genres that is hit-and-miss. Luckily, I have been diving further into it lately and keeping my options open, so this could end up being a grower. Just like the best of us.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
October 25th, 2023

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