Grave Pleasures – Motherblood (Century Media)

Tuesday, 26th September 2017
Rating: 8.5/10

A common practice this grizzled metal journalist employs while reviewing albums is to listen to them several times in a given week, then come back days later to finish said review. It’s done to avoid making snap-judgments on albums; you know, first impressions, pre-disposed opinions and such. And as often harped upon here and elsewhere, the best albums are the ones who sneak up on you. Grave Pleasures’ sophomore Motherblood may not be one of those split-the-atom-in-two bodies of work, but dang, it’s infectious to the point where its songs simply won’t leave you alone.

Such wasn’t the case for the band’s 2015 Dreamcrash debut, which was slighted and knocked by most major rock and metal outlets. Overcoming the looming shadow of Beastmilk proved to be too tall of a task then, the album perhaps bogged down by lineup uncertainty and unconvincing songs, but now, the familiar death-rock swagger of Mat “Kvohst” McNerney has returned. And Motherblood makes no bones about wanting to be the life of the party, often appearing like its casting the now-wide hipster, cool-dude-smoking net, all the while giving a wink and a nod to us metal folk. Your nose is probably going to turn up at first blush upon hearing “Infatuation Overkill” or “Falling for an Atomic Bomb,” but then the tumbling drums, snappy choruses and smooth, edgy riffing takes form and start to stick.

Cuts like “Be My Hiroshima” and “Atomic Christ” are virtually inescapable in due time; Motherblood as a whole eventually turns into total intoxication. Grave Pleasures’ carefree, almost take it or leave it attitude is what drives Motherblood home, resulting in what should be a career-turning point album and thousands of converts in its wake.

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