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Portrayal Of Guilt: skull-shattering Texans taking nihilistic hardcore to new levels

“Reality,” frontman Matt King answers flatly when asked what inspires Portrayal Of Guilt’s skull-shattering hardcore music. The nihilistic outfit first formed as a secondary venture for Matt and his co-conspirator James Beveridge, both from the Texan death/sludge metal band Illustrations.

“James and I ended up practising together, just for fun,” the frontman recalls. “Then we eventually recorded it as a side-project. Illustrations broke up around the time we put Portrayal Of Guilt’s self-titled EP out; people seemed to like it, so we thought, ‘Well, we might as well do this, then.’”

Now a fully formed band and a main priority for its members, Matt considers Portrayal of Guilt’s blackened anger to be an outlet for his battles with depression. He states that each guttural song on their new debut album, Let Pain Be Your Guide, is an exploration of a different type of psychological pain.

“A lot of the album has to do with depression and always looking for a way to get out of it, when the reality is you have to suffer through it. I’m pretty negative as a person and a lot of people can relate to that: there are a lot of messed-up things going on right now around the world. It’s sad to see.”

On Let Pain Be Your Guide, Portrayal Of Guilt communicate this strife via 10 succinct and bruising hardcore tracks. Matt himself is constantly wailing wildly, while his guitar adopts a cleaner, unsettling tone, inspired by a self-professed affinity for 90s screamo music.

“There are a lot of things taken from old screamo bands,” he admits. “I like a good, clean tone and when I hear guitar parts that have that, I get really excited.”

Portrayal Of Guilt’s musical core is a manifestation of their frontman’s rage and frustrations. Yet Matt concludes by affirming that his band’s gruesome tunes are one place in which he can find true solace.

“It’s something that puts me in a state of mind that I definitely enjoy,” he says. “I enjoy playing it, I enjoy writing it; it’s a very good outlet for me.” 

Let Pain Be Your Guide is out now on Holy Roar

Louder’s resident Cult Of Luna obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.