Gravesend: “A True Depiction of Urban Blight and Despair”

Despite being fertile ground for artistic extremities, the backdrop of decay and violence that characterized many American cities in the late 20th century has yet to be fully explored. There are some bands who touched on it, like the thrash metal bands of the 1980s, but they never focused on it in the same way as many others in the hardcore scene. As for some of the depressive/suicidal black metal bands who explore it, they still center the narrative on the self (that is, its annihilation).

However, as much as things improved in many cities after the early 1990s, there was always a low hum of unease left over from the bad old days. The demons of de-industrialization, addiction, suicide, gang violence and host of other horrors still lurked beneath the surface of the “End of History.” Well, history has come calling over the past year, and New York City’s Gravesend is here to shove it in your face with their brutal new album, Methods of Human Disposal.

The band’s style brings together all sorts of musical demons: black metal, death metal, hardcore, grind. It’s the most upsetting buffet you’ve ever been to (but in a cool way that rules!). Check out our Q&A with A., the band’s guitarist and main vocalist, and listen to the album in its entirety below, courtesy of 20 Buck Spin!

First off, to give readers some background, how did Gravesend come together?

Gravesend was derived in 2018 under a different name. There was a single recorded and released as an extremely limited run on cassette tape that was distributed anonymously around the local scene here in New York. The anonymity of the tape, when it was discovered who was behind it, is what brought us together. That single was updated, re-recorded and incorporated into our demo Preparations for Human Disposal. That original song/promo tape served as a jumping point to solidify a formal project.

How would you describe your sound? You guys seem to have a little something for everyone: black metal, grind, death metal, etc.

People have called it “war” metal or “bestial,” but it seems useless to put a particular genre tag on it. Our objective is to bring all the darker elements we enjoy in a multitude of extreme metal genres together for a terrifying soundscape that presents a true depiction of urban blight and despair.

For this album, you chose to focus on urban decay. There’s certainly a lot of that to go around with the economic crash, skyrocketing violent crime rates, and exploding rates of deaths of despair and addiction. Is this a topic you find fascinating anyway, or are you inspired in a more timely way?

The project is an honest representation of its current surroundings, and though it recalls a New York City of the past, lots of Gravesend’s aesthetics and lyrical themes are drawn from the current climate here today. The New York City of yesterday that was plagued by corruption, drug addiction, violence, the sex trade, etc. and these are still arguably creeping up in today’s city more covertly.

Obviously, live shows aren’t really a possibility at the moment, but are you hoping to one day drag audiences down into the sewers with you?

We have never played live, even before the plague shut down live music, but we do look forward to one day dragging audiences down with us into the sewers where the vermin will have their victory!