Grave Pleasures – Plagueboys

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Mat McNerney is a musical centipede. It’s actually mind-boggling if you stop to think what a wide range this artist has, and in how many quintessential albums he’s actually been involved in. From his early career in transforming Dødheimsgard from straight-up black metal to the avant-garde hydra it became later on, to the psychedelic folk of Hexvessel, and now the gothic post-punk of Grave Pleasures.

The British born current resident of Finland started the band in 2010 under the moniker Beastmilk. In that incarnation they made 3 albums until the band rebaptized themselves in a new lineup as Grave Pleasures in 2015 that added  Uno Bruniusson from In solitude on drums and Oranssi Pazuzu‘s Juho Vanhanen. The quality of those 3 initial albums notwithstanding, I think we can all agree Grave Pleasures is just a way cooler name to put a tee shirt than Beastmilk right? Under that name they put out ‘Dreamcrash’ followed up two years later with ‘Motherblood’. Some five years later, we now get ‘Plagueboys’.

Grave Pleasures very consciously evokes the post punk sound of the early goth scene at the beginning of the eighties. Think Joy Division, The Smiths, or Bauhaus. The latest, particularly because McNerney’s vocals, which unashamedly take a lot of inspiration from Peter Murphy. You could put their albums in with any box of post punk records from 4 decades ago, and that is precisely what they’re aiming for.

Now, despite its pitch black content, the ridiculously colourful cover artwork might already give you an idea that this Finnish troupe doesn’t show their colours that easily. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothes, many of the songs sound surprisingly upbeat. No reason we shouldn’t dance our way straight into the apocalypse, right?  Like the almost poppy ‘High on Annihilation’ sounds quite literally as perfectly carefree happy as the title may suggest, as long as you don’t pay attention to the lyrics.  Likewise, ’Conspiracy of Love’ has the kind of bass drive that the Sisters or the Mission would kill for. Or take the title track, which has Bauhaus written all over it. There’s simply so much to love here for an old goth aficionado like me. And that without sounding stale or coming off as plain, uninspired rehash. Absolute class.


  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 7/10
  • Originality 8/10

If you’re into this revival of the early goth scene like for instance Whispering Sons are doing, then Grave pleasures should be totally your thing.

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