Review Summary: we are portrayal of guilt and we are here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff
Portrayal of Guilt are one of the bands of the moment; they’re pranging out small pockets of the internet with in-your-face blackened hardcore that will make sense even to people who have no idea what blackened hardcore
is. They’re in association with kool bands like Chat Pile, and you have definitely heard of them and know the following: their debut Let Pain Be Your Guide
was a genuinely exhilarating blur of volatile energy, and while this year’s follow-up We Are Always Alone
didn’t pack quite the same intensity, its efforts to turn the lights even further down and expand the band’s songwriting towards more atmospheric [read: creepy black metal] ends were certainly respectable. So far, so good-bordering-on-great, but hold the phone one moment (Mr. Satan Texas is on another line)
, their new
new album Christfucker
takes this progression beyond the confines of endearing artistic growth and ever so slightly shits the bed.
It’s never less than cloyingly obvious what kind of record it’s trying to be; every other second reaches for the band’s most disconcerting Brutal terrifying anxious metal-as-fuck edge-of-your seat material so far, but this rests on such flimsy songwriting and scattergun presentation that it lands more as a barrage of shivery cheap thrills than as anything tantamount to an engaging atmosphere. Without a doubt, it’s ‘heavier’ than past PoGs on a moment-to-moment basis, but its constituent pieces of songvomit are frequently disjointed and undeveloped to the point that you straight-up question why the band were so unwilling to dig any deeper into them. Single “Sadist” is a case study to this end, replete with a succinct chugga rawr-rawr and a less succinct off-kilter spook-jerk, bridged so clumsily that each renders the other more incomplete, two halves a million miles away from adding up to a whole song. The effect is awkward and a little immature, but not quite messy; the album gets there
in due course with the likes of “Dirge” and “Master/Slave” while “Bed of Ash” is an interlude-thing that almost comically mistakes industrial lofi amateurism for unsettling horror music. These tracks in particular seem to be based around a shit-at-the-wall mentality that might have been engaging or even fun if the band’s heavily foregrounded horror fixation and black metal melodrama didn’t demand to be taken so damn seriously.
is surprisingly stocked with silver linings for an album supposedly conceived as a facsimile of Hell itself. For starters, singles “...Where The Suffering Never Ends” and “Possession” are both clearly conceived, unified pieces that do justice to the album’s apparent vision for thunderous terrifying antirapture. The latter in particular lands a real blow, playing loose but not too fast until it evolves into a treat of a beatdown, sticking around and vamping up and unraveling for precisely long enough to go places without overstaying its welcome. Well done, boys of PoG! Sequenced back-to-back in the two closing slots, these two are too little too late, but it’s reassuring to hear that the band are still onto something
. Beyond that, their performances and chemistry are enough to facilitate the album’s umpteen pin-drop changes of pace, for better and worse. More’s the shame their ideas department is so understaffed on competence and creativity. There are no more words? Better luck next time.