Portrayal of Guilt
Let Pain Be Your Guide


4.0
excellent

Review

by Claire Q. CONTRIBUTOR (56 Reviews)
November 12th, 2018 | 153 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cruel mischief

It’s not immediately obvious, the streak of cruel mischief that Let Pain Be Your Guide and its blackened hardcore wear. At first glance, it does no more, and also no less, than expel in agony the ugly contents of its stomach (literally; note the retching at the end of “Your War”). The lyrics appear to be straightforward accounts of hopelessness and suffering. The performances are vehement; searing riffs, shrieks, and blast beats meet sludgy slowdowns and alarmingly low growls, all grounded by remarkably intricate and diverse drumming.

The point on vehemence becomes surprisingly important, reaching beyond any implications for Portrayal of Guilt’s technical abilities. After many, many listens, I kept wondering why the terms “over-the-top” and “enthusiastic” were popping up in my head despite their ill-fitting connotations — the former suggesting that the music is somehow maudlin, sickeningly emotional, and the latter simply being too cheery for an ostensibly bleak album. But I couldn’t shake off the sense that Let Pain Be Your Guide was disturbingly energized. Maybe it was the way “Daymare” leapt into existence, a dead horse somehow still galloping. Maybe it was the seductive grooves on “Among Friends” and “A Burden”; an unusually optimistic-sounding riff in “Life Holds Nothing”; the punctuating gutturals on what should have been a song of respite, “Chamber of Misery (Pt. II).”

A comparison to two peers may be revealing. Totem Skin could be perceived as “energetic”, Plebeian Grandstand as “bleak”; interestingly, both terms can also be applied to Let Pain Be Your Guide. The difference, I think, is that in the aforementioned two bands, those characteristics wear earnest faces — they demand to be taken seriously, at face value if you will. Let Pain Be Your Guide, on the other hand, parades its outpourings, intentionally amps up the doom and gloom to near-excessive levels, and what it directly presents may not be what you are supposed to feel. In this sense, the album exploits pain and suffering, but is not itself an earnest portrayal of how it feels to experience those things. Listening to Let Pain Be Your Guide is akin to peering into the mind and machinations of a cruel puppet-master, not to an act of sympathizing with the downtrodden. Visible string-pulling may be seen as contrived, but it is the very spectacle on display here — there’s a mockery being made of the notion of conjuring bleakness and willing your audience to feel it. But this mockery isn’t necessarily earnest, either; Portrayal of Guilt tread close to what they may be satirizing, and they may be very well laughing at themselves.

And perhaps it’s because of disingenuousness that Let Pain Be Your Guide is an evasive work — what are we supposed to feel, exactly" If letting ourselves be overcome by the bleakness is too mindless and melodramatic, then what else" Sadistic enjoyment in watching embodiments of pain getting caged and displayed" At any rate, I’m not even sure if the listener escapes censure — they are, after all, complicit in an absurd scheme.



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user ratings (126)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Papa Universe
November 12th 2018


19653 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

portrayal of EXCITEMENT!

Digging: Two People - First Body

XingKing
November 12th 2018


14418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love the energy this record has

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2018


9292 Comments


Swell

SteakByrnes
November 12th 2018


14307 Comments


Great review Claire, can't wait to jam this

Digging: Ithaca - The Language of Injury

supremejelly
November 12th 2018


1030 Comments


Well this review has made me very intrigued

calmrose
November 12th 2018


4490 Comments


this slays

Digging: Cult Of The Damned - Part Deux: Brick Pelican Posse Crew Gang Syndicate

SowingSeason
Moderator
November 12th 2018


29561 Comments


Very well written review. You're an impressive writer.

Digging: Copeland - Blushing

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2018


835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks sowing!

Dewinged
November 12th 2018


14434 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"At any rate, I’m not even sure if the listener escapes censure — they are, after all, complicit in an absurd scheme."



Hot damn, Claire, impressive review.

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Crucible

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2018


2759 Comments


Yeah, wow; this is one of your best, I think.

Digging: Wicca Phase Springs Eternal - Suffer On

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2018


9292 Comments


Very well written review. You're an impressive writer.


Hope you guys are shining up a seat in Olympus for her. Just sayin.

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
November 12th 2018


16067 Comments


ooo I should try this

DDDeftoneDDD
November 12th 2018


3911 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Gonna check this

Digging: Opera Magna - Del amor y otros demonios

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
November 12th 2018


11661 Comments


Very cool review Claire. If that Plebeian Grandstand comparison didn't already ensnare me your words would have been enough (: Will check this.

Digging: Windswept - The Onlooker

Dinosaur
November 12th 2018


1300 Comments


Wow this is so good. nice dig Scuro!

Digging: Bonehunter - Children of the Atom

Hawks
November 12th 2018


67666 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow I need to hear this asap.

Digging: Cara Neir - Part III / Part IV

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
November 12th 2018


11661 Comments


Cheers Dino, album rules

GhostB1rd
November 12th 2018


2610 Comments


Really like the album art on this on the one hand but am usually turned off by black metal vocals on the other.

Taxt
November 12th 2018


1266 Comments


Great review! I'm stoked for this one

Digging: Xiu Xiu - Girl with Basket of Fruit

tcat84
November 13th 2018


1215 Comments


The album art does not fit the genre. Not a bad thing.

Also the vocals aren't really in standard Black metal style IMO

They range from hardcore, metalcore, death metal, screamo, black metal vocals... it's a bizarre coctail for me at least

The end of "your war" is very unecessary



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