E-mail comes in from my editor regarding some upcoming reviews. Okay, new Portrayal of Guilt, should be promising. Wait, this must be some kind of mistake on behalf of my editor. I already reviewed Portrayal of Guilt’s We Are Always Alone back in February. Album of the year type stuff. Another e-mail later clarifies that this new album is titled CHRISTFUCKER (Run For Cover). Alright, but who drops multiple LPs in one calendar year?
Unless your name is Creedence Clearwater Revival I’m usually not interested in that strategy. Quality control comes to mind. When were these songs written or is this the stuff that didn’t make the cut on, We Are Always Alone? The latter not being a total dig as that aforementioned album sets a pretty high bar.
And the truth is that CHRISTFUCKER can hold its own if not stand on the same plateau as We Are Always Alone. What you must understand is that Portrayal of Guilt doesn’t write songs as much as they conjure up a nasty atmosphere and CHRISTFUCKER is doling out ten fresh slices of feel bad. ‘Sadist’ with its screeching feedback, jerky movements and industrial flair (the effects on Matt King’s vocals are quite frightening) is the encapsulation of this Austin trio’s sound. James Beveridge’s drum work is also to be commended as he holds court on ‘Fall from Grace’ and seemingly bashes his kit to pieces on ‘Dirge.’ His driving beats can also be heard on what I imagine was the album’s original title ‘…were the suffering never ends’ before the band settled on the much subtler CHRISTFUCKER.
But all the sonic madness comes to a head on ‘Possession’ which sounds like if Gatecreeper had a baby with Eyehategod. As the insanity ratchets up, King informs us that “I feel her anxiety, I feel her agony, I feel her desire to find her pain a new home in me.” No sir, you’re giving me anxiety and I would like for you to stop now, please.
I thought folks from Austin were supposed to be laidback, but Portrayal of Guilt seem to be working through some painful stuff right now. Maybe they don’t like putting up with Joe Rogan as a fulltime resident or something. I don’t mind if it means more of this.
Buy the album here: https://portrayalofguilt.bandcamp.com/
8 / 10