Raised from the ashes of Finnish band Beastmilk, the first album of reincarnate Grave Pleasures is fittingly macabre. Dreamcrash plays like an aeroplane plummeting towards earth in a frenetic, thrashing whirl, its breathlessness and energy a constant throughout. The funeral drum and detached, haunting guitar riffs give the album an unerring continuity, marching erratically towards the grave and giving weight to the first part of the band’s claim that they are “apocalyptic post punk.”
The threatening drone of lead singer Mat “Kvost” McNerney produces the expected morbid lyrics, like “She’s going straight to hell” and the repetitive chant “This will be the end of it all.” The album, however, is not merely brainless Slipknot mimicry; Grave Pleasures have their own unique sound, bending guitars and crashing cymbals to bring an additional element to the music. Songs like Utopian Scream and Crying Wolves set the album in motion, with a similar pace upheld throughout. There is also a bit of respite from the madness towards the end with the slower yet no less powerful Crooked Vein, in preparation for the characteristically brash No Survival, which tails off slowly to make the album feel like it’s withered away after giving all it can.
The songs are fresh and hard-hitting, especially New Hip Moon. I was taken aback at times by the edge brought by some of the songs. However, there is a suspicion just over halfway through the album that some originality has been forsaken. Sure, Worn Threads is a good song, but it’s hard to argue that it’s totally different to the first few songs on the album, particularly the harsh drumbeat of Futureshock. As good as some of the songs are, McNerney’s deep voice gets a bit monotonous, and the continuity of the album ends up being unsurprisingly repetitive. Nevertheless, there is no faulting Grave Pleasures’ effort as each song launches into a tireless tirade against the world and its uncle.
The sound of Dreamcrash resonated with me for days after listening to it, and there are some very good songs on the album that make it a must-listen for any rock, metal or punk fans. However, as an album it does not manage to set the world on fire because of its failure to properly differentiate between some of its songs. Its pace and bravado alone make it worth a listen, and its recent savvy Facebook advertising seems likely to bring a new wave of welcome rock converts from those disillusioned with modern pop - which can only be a good thing if this is what they listen to.