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Grave Pleasures - Plagueboys | Review

Grave Pleasures - Plagueboys

April 2023

Century Media

Grave Pleasures return with their 3rd full length album, "Plagueboys", six years after the unforgettable "Motherblood".

Six years have passed, and from the result one can say that maybe the Finns wandered into various and different soundscapes during this rather long time between the two albums.

And how does this translate? The first listen of “Plagueboys” will give you the answer really quick. Grave Pleasures redefines their sound, based on the most melodic lines from the album for which most of us remember the group from Finland, but it is not under their name. Yes, you got it right. I am talking about “Climax” and Beastmilk. This one has left an indelible mark on the sound of Grave Pleasures. Quite rightly one would think that the predecessors of "Plagueboys" were also built on the foundations of "Climax", but in the third chapter of the story of Grave Pleasures Mat McNerney and his company continue, you might say, from where they left off with Beastmilk , while now looking straight at the bands that shaped this whole sound of early, wave-influenced, post-punk idiom.

In "Plagueboys" you will now clearly hear the influences carried by the Finns and coming from the 80's. Grave Pleasures comes with the 10 tracks of "Plagueboys" to breathe new life into the modern post-punk that most of us have come to love through other bands of the genre, in the last 20 years, with simple, yet elaborate, steps. In the almost 45 minutes that "Plagueboys" lasts, you will hear riffs, sharp guitars, powerful bass lines, melodic and dark post-punk and all of this expressed by the incredible voice of Mat McNerney. "Plagueboys", perhaps, should not be compared to "Motherblood" (however, impossible), since it could clearly be a new chapter for Grave Pleasures. Perhaps, after all, the long period of time that separates the two albums is not accidental at all.

But what is it that makes Grave Pleasures' new album already secure one of the highest places on the most loved albums lists of 2023 (yes, and we're only 1/3 of the way through the year)? Grave Pleasures release an album that will captivate you from the first second, starting with "Disintegration Girl" and its danceable, dark mood, which at the same time "shouts" for the new era of the band, until its last note , haunted, dark bass of the last track, “Tears On The Camera Lens”, which takes you on a journey, building, slowly and indolently, all the tension and eruption that leads to the closing of an amazing album.

Among the strongest moments are the two tracks that put us in the world of "Plagueboys" long before its release. "Society Of Spectres" is what keeps alive the connection of the two musical worlds of Grave Pleasures, that of "Plagueboys" and that of "Motherblood". A track that looks deep into the apocalyptic post-punk of the band, with sharp guitars, the bass keeping the lines and tension, and the necessary "blackness" in vocals and lyrics. The second is "Heart Like A Slaughterhouse", perhaps from the most gothic moments of "Plagueboys" since it is influenced and written for the gloomy side and all the gothic attitude that is prevalent in festivals like Wave Gotik Trefen. A track whose rhythm drags you into a soothing dance even if you try to avoid it.

In these alternations that characterize how diverse the Finns' album is, the rest of the tracks come to show you that post-punk is a highly sensual and addictive music. Having said that, confirmation is the deeply emotional, melodic and darkly dynamic "Conspiracy Of Love", where at its start everything around you becomes dark from the story, the vocals, the phenomenal bass playing. A masterpiece that could alone take the listener to massive levels of musical euphoria. The definition of addictive song that grabs you by the hair and doesn't let go for even a second. Or the title track “Plagueboys” which builds the atmosphere with which the album will close (we talked about “Tears On The Camera Lens”) and this whole feeling is what, in the end, will lead you to press play, again and again. And of course I can't help but write something about the powerful "When The Shooting's Gone" which simply seduces you to its rhythm or, also, "Imminent Collapse" with its wave-ish tunes and arrangements.

Don't look for fillers in "Plagueboys". They do not exist! Those 10 tracks will swallow you up, lead you to sadness, deify you, leave their mark on you. Valtteri Arino, Juho Vanhanen, Mat McNerney, Aleksi Kiiskilä, Rainer Tuomikanto create a post-punk album derived from their extreme origins, which they use to make an amazing, melodic, gothic, pop album.

And, yes, I will say it... "Plagueboys" could be Beastmilk's second album. The End.






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