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“Beastmilk is back in all but name” – Invisible Oranges
“Back to what made Beastmilk’s Climax a hell of a lot of fun!” - Visions
“ We’re surfing the apocalypse again, and this time with the reverb button back on. Back to a new old sound and back to a Finnish lineup. Now we’ve returned to the bunkers and are handling some radioactive new material for the next album. The new stuff is a nuclear fusion of our Beastmilk past with Climax and the beast(sic) parts of Grave Pleasures’ Dreamcrash album.”
- Mat McNerney, vocals
After their critically acclaimed Dreamcrash album with Sony Comlubia (EU) and Metal Blade (US), with a new lineup and a sound like a nuclear wind blowing through a pile of a thousand skulls, Grave Pleasures are back on true funeral form!
Self-styled apocalyptic post punks, Grave Pleasures, were formed from the remains of the break up of Beastmilk, who were one of the most talked-about bands in recent times. Their “painful war-cry of the eternally doomed,” as one journalist described it, resonated with fans of all music genres. Beastmilk’s 2013 debut album “Climax” received rave reviews across the board. Metalheads, indie kids and gothic punks were all dancing to the funeral drum as the Finnish band spearheaded a new wave of rock music.
2015 marked the end of an era – and the beginning of a new – as the remaining members of the band Beastmilk split with guitarist Johan “Goatspeed” Snell early in the year. The remainder of the group took on the name Grave Pleasures, and embarked on a new musical journey.
In 2015 they recorded and released the Dreamcrash album. With the creative force behind Beastmilk Mat ”Kvohst” McNerney on vocals, and original bassist Valtteri Arino, they were joined by Swedes Linnéa Olsson (formerly of The Oath - who had joined Beastmilk already in 2014) on guitar and Uno Bruniusson (In Solitude) on drums. Lead guitars were performed and written by the Finnish avant-garde psychedelic metal musician Juho Vanhanen (creative visionary behind Oranssi Pazuzu). Dreamcrash was released to critical acclaim. It was a complex and feverish set of modern rock songs, complete with immediate pop sensibility, a melancholic undercurrent, and an irreverent ferociousness that is alone in its kind in contemporary rock.
There followed a year or so of touring and high profile festivals including Hellfest, Ruisrock, Sweden Rock, Amplifest, Ilosaarirock, Reverence Festival, Rockavaria, Rock Im Revier and Provinssi Festival. The band set out on a long European headline tour, joined by Desperate Journalist in the UK, and a further European tour with Tribulation and Vampire. The band also recorded a BBC live session for the Daniel P Carter Radio 1 Rock Show.
In early 2016 the band went through a lineup shift again. This time consolidating the band back to an all Finnish lineup. Replacing Linnea on guitar is Aleksi Kiiskilä (previously of local punk legends Kohu 63) and replacing Uno on drums is Rainer Tuomikanto (previously of Shining Swe.). Juho Vanhanen takes a more prominent role in the band, having already had a large hand in writing Dreamcrash, he co-writes the songs for the next Grave Pleasures album along with original songwriter and lyrical mastermind Mat McNerney.
Mat McNerney’s musical roots lies in the Norwegian classic black metal scene – further expanding into avant-garde metal and ultimately making a name for himself as an eclectic singer, constantly moving in unpredictable directions. After having relocated to Helsinki he formed and orchestrated his own psychedelic folk trip – Hexvessel.
With Beastmilk he diverged and saw himself taking the role as an agitator for the downtrodden and doomed – brilliantly balancing topics of fear, paranoia and death with sex appeal, poetry and plain, grinning fun. On the new Grave Pleasures material, Mat McNerney has delved deeper into the original inspirations of Beastmilk, as he takes the concept back to the source but reinvigorates and reimagines it for another bleak future.
They have been described as "A post-punk wet dream," or perhaps more honestly as "bat-shit lunatics." The new material is a truly danceable, raw feast of pleasure – in all its desperate, urban tribalism. Set for a new album release in 2017, the band are released a short taster in the form of the Funeral Party 7” in November 2016 via Mat McNerney’s own Secret Trees imprint.
Of the new material Mat McNerney comments:
“This new 7” is a small detonation of that new material and released in an exclusive way, to reward our fans for sticking with us.
It’s great to be back making another short format release on 7” just like the early days with Beastmilk. To complete your end of the world celebratory package, we have put together a funeral party karaoke video so you can sing along to your doom. An underground uproar with a funeral party beat, we’re definitely dancing with the dead again”
Touring Scandinavia at the end of 2016, the band ripped their way back through their underground past, igniting a new spirit of doomsday revelation and conspiratorial hymns. The 7” was released to critical acclaim and fan delight, as Noisey remarked ”The seven-inch's two songs serve up icy, dancey goth-tinged death rock, and temper it with an ominous apocalyptic obsession.”
The band head into the studio in March 2017 to record their next album and are being booked to play live at a selection of festivals throughout the summer.
Always impossible to pin down to a genre or scene, and with 80s influences but never retro. Grave Pleasures hint at the zeitgeist of the cold war, nuclear era but with a modern and mad, grinning cynicism. Finding their innate pleasure in their own continual demise, and embracing their nihilism, these revamped doom punks look set to follow their trajectory to new desolate heights. The end has only just begun.