Deathgrave – So Real, It’s Now (2018) REVIEW

Grinding like a blender full of chicken bones, LSD and dog shit San Jose/Oakland, California’s Deathgrave create a noxious stew of powerviolence, hardcore, and death metal so vile you’ll be grateful that they’ve force-fed your skull with it; At least once you’ve finished puking and started tripping. Their debut full-length ‘So Real, It’s Now’ drops into an immediate blast of deathgrind a la Atrocity (Connecticut) but flips the brim of their hats with an gnashing punk-blasted mix of extreme metal influences that revive the corpses of bands like Dead Horse, Skeletal Earth and Righteous Pigs. Equally capable of 80’s hardcore, pure grindcore, and even a bump of creep-ass late 80’s death/doom Deathgrave deliver the hell out of their first foray into the long player.

Didn’t really know this band was on the map until I’d discovered local powerviolence/hardcore punk maniacs Endorphins Lost and in digging through their discography landed on a split between the two bands.  That split 7″ was more or less the first release from Deathgrave to feature inclusion of ‘Mental Funeral’-like riffs and their sound received a face-slap away from the more typical powerviolence style of their demo and pre-2016 releases towards something kinda Impetigo-ish. If you’re the type to dig backwards go buy their demo off Bandcamp, it well worth a listen.

So, who should care a lot and why? This sort of grindcore variant unite the worlds of the hardcore punk purist, the grindcore obsessed, and the diapered death metal nerd as they notoriously serve as gateway between all points of view. I can trace a wild, non-linear path from the impetus of discovering Nausea‘s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ to my love of bands like Cryptic Slaughter, Autopsy, and even Neurosis. So, if you’re too stuck on your shit you should suckle on the tit of ‘So Real, It’s Now’ and be more curious. Plus hey Oakland’s long tradition of punk, grind, sludge and death is kept well alive and ripping thanks to guitarist Greg Wilkinson‘s Earhammer Studios. His ear for riffs, the band’s spunkadelic performances, and a gritty load of spit and polish make for an energized listen that never dragged for me.

The listening experience was immediately gratifying if only for a couple of personal references that tickled my fancy the first being “Casket Bath” and it’s mix of Abscess-like mud-plowed, death-grinding and its outro’s Greg Ginn-esque wail-and-wobble guitar work (see: ‘In My Head’ solos, first solo on ‘My War’). I really loved that moment and even moreso as it returned briefly on several tracks, more notably on “This is What You Get Part 2” and “Hacker”. That sound became increasingly Deathgrave‘s own as I spun the album more and more. Those distinctive moments help blur the line between the sub-genre harassment that characterizes ‘So Real, It’s Now’ and by the end of the listen I had a lasting impression of Deathgrave‘s sound and not just a list of genres represented.

Deathgrave hit it out of the park on their debut with music that’ll jiggle the old head’s man-jugs as well as their teenage kid’s rebellious frontal lobes. Very heavy and very ‘Fuck you’ all the same. It’d be hard to recommend just a couple tracks to preview but if you’re like me and you want to get to the door slammin’ first and the growling later “Life Fast Die Slow”, “You Can’t Win” and the almost Soilent Green-ish groovin’ title track offer a solid sample to pick through.


Artist Deathgrave
Type Album
Released June 22nd, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Tankcrimes’ Bandcamp! Follow Deathgrave on Instagram
Death Metal,

Affectionate bloodbath. 4.0/5.0

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