This review was originally meant to be a live review of a recent Grave Pleasures show I attended but I was left that unimpressed by the band they were supporting that I thought “let’s review something you can still actually go out and buy and hopefully put some money in the bank for a band who really deserve it”.

For those of you who might not have heard of them yet, Grave Pleasures are a five piece Finnish post punk band with one foot very firmly placed in the Goth camp, their roots stretching back to a band called Beastmilk who released one astoundingly brilliant record called ‘Climax’ back in 2013. Fast forward to 2019 and two albums and two record deals later we find Pleasures mainmen vocalist Mat McNerney and bassist Valtteri Arino along with Juho Vanhanen and Aleksi Kiiskilä on guitars, and not forgetting the human dynamo that is Rainer Tuomikanto on drums, approaching the end of a two year road trip promoting their second studio album, ‘Motherblood’.

‘Doomsday Roadburn’ then is a (dark) celebration of Grave Pleasures time on the road and captures their 14 song set from Roadburn Festival 2018 in full, complete with the odd off vocal note and muted guitar string as all great live records should be, and anyone who knows the band’s back catalogue to date will see from checking out the tracklisting that it’s pretty much a greatest hits set, with not a single weak song in sight. The record itself is presented on double splatter vinyl housed in a gatefold sleeve complete with artwork by Daniel Martin Diaz, and including a large booklet with beautiful monochrome photos from the show. What more could a Grave Pleasures fan want for Christmas eh?

As the band did on the recent support stint I caught them on, the set is book ended by ‘Mind Intruder’ and ‘Joy Through Death’ whilst in between the energy the band conjures up has as much in common with The Stooges or Misfits as it does with say Depeche Mode melodically, and this right there is what makes Grave Pleasures so interesting, because in an age when musical demographics are used to the point of destruction to sell one hit wonders, Grave Pleasures transcend genres and for that reason alone it makes them something very unique indeed.

Of the songs featured here ‘Infatuation Overkill’ immediately brings back visions of Rainer Tuomikanto windmilling whilst systematically trying to destroy his 4 piece drum kit and when ‘Death Reflects Us’ finally pops up as track (unlucky) 13 I can but marvel at how this song was not a huge worldwide hit for the band (then known as Beastmilk). Yet as one of the two studio outtakes from the ‘Motherblood’ sessions added at the end of side four states ‘There Are Powers At Work In This World’ and you really must not let them stop you from sharing the greatness of Grave Pleasures in all their live glory.

‘Violence of Night’ is the second of the studio outtakes and if this brooding slab of goth had been released three decades earlier it would have immediately had gangs of spikey haired teenagers up on their mate’s shoulders chicken dancing like idiots, and sometimes the magic of a band really can be as simple as that.

So, having witnessed the guys make mincemeat of three Tigers just a week or so ago ‘Doomsday Roadburn’ acts to reinforce the point that whoever they play with Grave Pleasures are always going to come out on top, and this record defines what “Live & Dangerous” means for a whole new generation of music fans.


Author: Johnny Hayward

Svart Records