Portrayal of Guilt Reflect on “Let Pain Be Your Guide,” Share Favorite 2018 Releases

You’ve been listening to people talk about their New Year’s resolutions and goals for the last week and tomorrow you’ll have to face those resolutions hungover, so we’ll spare you any more of that and dive into the good stuff. Portrayal of Guilt released a ferocious debut LP in November, one that has rightfully earned a number of accolades in the short time since it dropped. Let Pain Be Your Guide takes influence from every corner of the extreme metal spectrum, challenging notions of what screamo and hardcore music sound like.

In addition to its ferocious nature and willingness to flirt with varying sounds, Let Pain Be Your Guide is a cathartic record; when vocalist Matt King screams and roars, it sounds like bad vibes being forcibly exhaled. The lyrics are raw and honest, like Portrayal of Guilt wanted to leave everything on the table when recording was over.

Decibel caught up with King to discuss Let Pain Be Your Guide, frequently releasing new music despite a heavy touring schedule and Portrayal of Guilt’s favorite records from 2018. Let Pain Be Your Guide is out now on Gilead Media (and Holy Roar in Europe); hear it below.

There have always been diverse influences outside of screamo and post-hardcore in Portrayal of Guilt’s music, but Let Pain Be Your Guide seems to take that to another level. There are shades of grindcore, crust, noise and even some death and black metal on the album. Has that been a natural evolution to your sound, or have you consciously tried to bring in new influence?
Any evolution has been natural, definitely. We had written most of the music from the album not too long after we wrote the first 3 songs from the EP, so I don’t think there’s any significant difference there. The newest song we’ve written and recorded is “Chamber of Misery (Pt. I),” which we released on a 5″ a couple of months before Let Pain Be Your Guide was announced.

What sticks out to you the most about the writing and recording process for Let Pain Be Your Guide? The album was recorded in 48 hours, which is a short time regardless of album length.
We had already written most of the songs before having a chance to record demos in the middle of a tour, which were also recorded with Matt (Michel) a few months before the album. We really appreciate that opportunity because we were able to spend a little more time with the songs than usual. After recording the demos, we collectively chose a weekend that worked for everyone, which is why it was recorded in such a short time. How we got it done within that time period, I think that was just good planning all around. What sticks out to me personally is the fact that we were able to record with Matt in the first place. Majority Rule is not only one of the first emotional and honest bands I was introduced to, but my favorite band hands down. Their songwriting is fucking amazing!

Guests on Let Pain Be Your Guide include Dylan Walker (Full of Hell), Matt Michel (Majority Rule) and Maha Shami (NØ MAN); why did you choose these three vocalists to appear on the album?
My favorite split is Document #12 (Pg.99/Majority Rule), which includes my favorite songs from both bands. Having both Matt and Maha on this album means so much, really. They are not only amazing people, but amazing musicians as well. We’re fortunate enough to be able to tour with their new band NØ MAN in February.

I’ve known Dylan for a while now it seems. I first saw Full of Hell around 2010 or 2011 in San Antonio and they blew my mind. I’ve always been a fan of that band, but Dylan has always been a great person. Their success is very inspiring. We’re very stoked we were able to include him.

When writing the lyrics for the album, where did you look for inspiration? Were there certain situations or experiences that informed these songs?
The inspiration comes from reality, though there are definite lyrical references to personal experiences. I think it’s pretty clear now more than ever where we’re at as human beings and where people’s priorities lie. It’s a lot like that movie Idiocracy.

You’re touring with Fluoride and NØ MAN for most of February; what happens when that’s over? Will you stay on the road for a large part of 2019?
We’re already writing for the next release, so that will continue when we get home in late February. We have a couple of unannounced tours ahead to look forward to, but we’d like to get more music out there just as much as we’re touring. We’ll figure out a way to balance it out, I’m sure.

Gilead Media have already listed pre-orders for a second pressing of Let Pain Be Your Guide because the first one is already sold out. How does it feel to receive such a strong reaction to your music?
It’s amazing to see people listening to and supporting the new album, as well as the previous releases. We appreciate that more than anything. It’s hard to get people to listen to new things these days, so the fact that anyone gave us their time means so much to us.

As we approach the new year and reflect on what came out, were they any 2018 releases that stood out to the members of the band?

City Hunter – Deep Blood
Rendez-Vous – Superior State
Marbled Eye – Leisure

Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
Street Sects – The Kicking Mule
Mammoth Grinder – Cosmic Crypt

Zusammenbruch – Lost In Feedback
Terror Cell Unit – God Took Everything Away From Us So Now We Will Take Everything From You
Temple of Angels – Foiled

The Armed – Only Love
Ostraca – Enemy
Thou – Magus