Revolver has teamed with Portrayal of Guilt for a limited-edition vinyl variant of CHRISTFUCKER on "clear with red splatter" wax. There're only 300 copies available, so order yours before they're gone!
"We were just smoking endlessly and taking mushrooms every day just to get in this weird zone — we were thinking, What do we call this record? Let's just call it, 'Fuck You.'"
Matt King is laughing when he explains the thought process surrounding the title of Portrayal of Guilt's new and third full-length. The record — which the Austin screamo/blackened hardcore band wanted to make sound like the soundtrack that's "playing in hell" — had to have a dark, attention-grabbing name. "Fuck You" was a good start, but they pushed deeper until they landed on the most ridiculous, offensive thing they could think of: CHRISTFUCKER.
"A lot of the lyrical content is based in hell … so it couldn't be more perfect," the vocalist continues. "We looked it up there was like nothing named that. Like how can you not name it that?"
Portrayal of Guilt's playful antagonism aside, if you've been following screamo trio for any amount of time, you'll also know the band is no stranger to taking punk music to its heaviest, hopeless and most nihilistic conclusions. CHRISTFUCKER is the latest furious action in their brutal mission, which finds the band embracing their grimmest black-metal tendencies yet.
After all, positivity and happiness isn't really PoG's bag. Last time we checked in with the band, the pandemic hadn't yet hit — but frontman Matt King still wasn't about leaving his room. Yet despite the myriad challenges that have emerged during this past year-plus on planet COVID, the band has remained as prolific as ever. In early 2021, Portrayal released their ambitious sophomore album, We Are Always Alone. The record — which built off their much buzzed about pg.99/Majority Rule-channeling debut, 2018's Let Pain Be Your Guide — introduced new elements into the band's take on classic screamo. The guitars were notably thicker while the drums featured a more immediate metal-esque attack.
Now, under less than a year later, Portrayal of Guilt have returned with their third LP CHRISTFUCKER — a record that fully embraces the band's desires to plumb deeper into the darkness. CHRISTFUCKER's songs are still rooted in the aggressive foundation of late-Nineties punk rock. But thanks to the production work of Ben Greenberg, of New York industrial noise makers Uniform, each song is covered in a distinct sheen of grime. ("Possession," for example, feels extremely far away from their more traditionally minded debut self-titled.) And, more than ever, King's vocals sound as though he's screaming from the depths hell, desperately trying to break through to our current plane of existence.
Portrayal of Guilt also channel some classic nu-metal — if only in spirit — on CHRISTFUCKER. "I'm such a fan of Korn's songwriting," King says, adding that the Bakersfield OGs were the topic of some serious bonding between Portrayal of Guilt and Oklahoma City noise-metal band Chat Pile during the creation of their split earlier this year. "A lot of times Korn will get lumped into the meme category because of the vocals and all that, but if people seriously see past that and actually listen to the songs, it's all so insane. Imagine that coming out today with Chat Pile vocals, it would be nuts."
Though King and his band don't fully dip into nu-metal sounds on the new album, Portrayal of Guilt certainly aspire to that level of powerful, dark songwriting. Take a track like CHRISTFUCKER's "…where the suffering never ends," which features a groove that will worm its way into your brain and not let go, or "Fall From Grace," which features Touché Amore's Jeremy Bolm (in his most vicious performance in years) and just racks up riff after riff. Simply put, CHRISTFUCKER is a pure ass-kicker of a record.
Ahead of CHRISTFUCKER's release (on November 5th via Run For Cover Records), we caught up with King for a chat about the band's current prolific period, smoking weed, black-metal labels, pissing off people online and much more.
I KNOW THIS IS THE CLICHE START FOR INTERVIEWS RIGHT NOW, BUT WHAT'S THE PANDEMIC BEEN LIKE FOR YOU? I KNOW YOU'RE TYPICALLY PRETTY ACTIVE, WRITING A LOT OF MUSIC. I'M CURIOUS ABOUT HOW, IF AT ALL, THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED YOUR CREATIVITY.
MATT KING I guess it just kind of like gave me more time to like, fuck around, you know what I mean? Just with different projects, like I do a death-metal project, and then sort of a synth-punk kind of thing. When the pandemic started, we already had the first record, We Are Always Alone, on deck anyway. So we were waiting for that to come out. I think, initially, we wanted it to come out at the end of 2020, but it got pushed. When that happened I kind of stopped playing music for a minute, but then I figured we might as well just keep practicing and keep writing. I've kind of just been trying to think of different ways and new ways to run as a band during the pandemic, obviously, without touring and shit.
SO THE NEW RECORD IS CALLED CHRISTFUCKER. WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM WITH J.C., MAN?
A lot. [Laughs] Yeah, I mean it's sort of a joke that no one would take as such. I've been keeping with comments I've seen about the title and whatnot. I've seen a lot of people say some shit like that like we're purposely trying to be edgy, and honestly when we came up with it we were dying laughing. The general idea behind that record is we basically wanted to make this sound like it was abandoned and found somewhere random and it's haunted. Or a record that's in hell basically, like that's what's playing in fucking hell or whatever. And at the end after we had done everything that we needed to do we listened to it and we were like, "Dude, this is fucking crazy, I don't think anybody really sounds like this."
Also throughout the process we're just smoking endlessly and like taking mushrooms every day just to just get in this weird zone. So we were sort of thinking, like, What do we call this record? Let's Just call it 'Fuck You.' Like why not? [Laughs] So fucking ridiculous. Do you remember the band Robinson at all? They were like this fuckin grind band from like back in the day. They were on this label Debello Recordings, which had a ton of crazy grind bands from MySpace. They broke up kind of quick but I remember they were going to do a full length and they were going to call it "Fuck Everything" and I thought that was fucking hilarious back then. So we were just kind of spit-balling and shit like alright so what do we call it? What's just something so stupid and fucked up. So we were like "Fuck You Christ," because a lot of the lyrical content is based in hell ... So just like, "Christfucker." It couldn't be more perfect, we looked it up there was like nothing named that. Like how can you not name it that?
PLUS, IF YOU WERE TO PUT IT ON A SHIRT FOR EXAMPLE YOU COULD REALLY PISS OFF THE GUY ACROSS FROM YOU ON THE TRAIN.
It's kind of for that reason too you know, I guess like to sort of get a rise out of people who may take it seriously. But different people have different ideas for it I guess.
I THINK THERE'S AN ART TO DOING REALLY IGNORANT, MEATHEAD SHIT IN MUSIC. TAKING AN IDEA AND JUST CRANKING THE RIDICULOUSNESS TO TEN.
Yeah. Also, I made the fucking album artwork like five minutes after we titled it, I was like that's it, the title at the top our name at the bottom black and white. It's just the fucking word.
I GENUINELY LIKE HOW SIMPLE THE ALBUM COVER IS BECAUSE, REALLY, WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED? IF YOU PUT SOME ILLUSTRATED PORTRAIT OF JESUS DYING IT COULD BE SUPER CORNY.
Yeah, exactly. Because we were thinking that shit too like, "Yo, we can be pretty fucking corny." Like, we could have gone like, a super corny route with that, like, super lean into me trying to be edgy or some shit. I feel like no one's gonna get it until they actually hear the record.
FOR SURE. YEAH, I REALLY DIG THE RECORD. IT MADE ME SORT OF THINK ABOUT THE TRAJECTORY OF A LOT OF SCREAMO BANDS. IF A BAND DOESN'T BREAK UP AFTER TWO RECORDS THEY EITHER STAGNATE OR BECOME SUPER SELLOUT-Y. BUT THIS REALLY PUSHES HOW DARK A SCREAMO RECORD CAN GET ...
Yeah, totally. At our core we are a screamo band but you can only take that so far. I also really liked the idea of, like, I don't know if it like, really is too much on this record, but at least in the future I want it to feel like you're watching a fucking horror movie, with jump scares and shit. When you go from quiet and then jump to a fucking volume that's way too fucking loud or whatever. II want to try to fuck with that kind of shit. I guess … I don't really know where we're headed. Like, where do you even take the genre of metal or screamo or whatever? There's so many fucking hardcore bands that all sound the fucking same, same goes for metal. Aside from Chat Pile, and maybe a few other bands to be honest, I'm not really like excited about new music
ON "DIRGE" THERE'S A BREAKDOWN NEAR THE END AND THEN THIS PART THAT ALMOST SOUNDS LIKE THE SOUND FROM "PSYCHO." IT'S SICK.
Yeah, at the very end of that fucking song. I don't know if anybody will catch it but also at the end, it ends with a gunshot and then you can hear the little like squirting sound and that's supposed to be shooting yourself in the head. And then like your brain just falling out of your head. [Laughs]
SPEAKING OF GENRE, I SAW ONLINE PEOPLE WERE CALLING YOU A "BLACK-METAL BAND." IT'S FUNNY JUST BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE JAMES [BEVERIDGE, DRUMMER] RIPS OUT ALL THESE BLAST-BEATS BECAUSE HE'S AN INSANE DRUMMER, SO PEOPLE CALL IT THAT. I'M CURIOUS, DO YOU HAVE ANY AFFINITY FOR BLACK METAL?
I definitely do. But I can't say that's apparent in the writing. Obviously there will be fast picking and then blast-beat stuff. I guess it just kind of like leans into a little bit of everything. Right? I could see like people calling it black metal. I mean, we're fucking playing Hellfest in France next year. And the fucking stage that we're playing on, the headliner is Enslaved and Marduk. It's nothing but like super cold black metal so we can't fucking wait to see how they react to us —because clearly we don't have corpse paint or gimmicks. I'm sure we're gonna get treated like shit [Laughs].
FOR SURE. I FEEL LIKE YOU GUYS WRITE THIS SUPER DARK MUSIC BUT YOU'RE ALL SORT OF FUNNY DUDES, LIKE ALWAYS JOKING AROUND AND SHIT WHEN I'VE SEEN YOU. [LAUGHS] IT'S A FUNNY DICHOTOMY.
It's definitely pretty hilarious. But people can call us whatever they want. Like we do not care. The big thing with us is the way we even do anything, we each listen to our music when we're by ourselves and when we come into the room we roll up a fat jay and then start playing and then that's just what happens and like we're just so fucking baked. With the record we have like joint papers and a grinder or whatever the fuck that's being sold with it, but I initially wanted to try to figure out how to get the record to come with a joint. [Laughs] But it seems a little more difficult than anticipated. The record says "for full effect smoke before listening," because I really fucking want people to get baked as shit before hearing it because I feel like that'll also make it make so much fucking sense.
YOU GOT JEREMY FROM TOUCHÉ AMORÉ ON THE RECORD. I FEEL LIKE IT'S HIS MOST EVIL PERFORMANCE EVER, WHAT WAS IT LIKE PUTTING THE TRACK TOGETHER?
It was pretty fucking easy, like it's worked out just because I didn't even really have any like thought who would be cool to like have on the record. Initially like I don't even think anybody was going to be on the record. I think I just texted him and I was just like, "Hey, we're working on our record right now. Would you be interested in like doing some vocals on it?" He was just like, "Yeah, please yeah," and so we just emailed him the song and he did it like within a week so it was like super easy.
YOU ALL SOUND PRETTY EVIL ON THIS ALBUM. LIKE PUNK DOESN'T GET THIS EVIL GENERALLY.
I mean, that's kind of, like, I guess what we are, or whatever, or at least musically. The idea is to be as evil and psychotic as possible. Like, there are so many ideas already … we're working towards getting scarier and crazier, as far as musically and stuff like that. So this is just like the bridge now, that sort of will lead us to those things. But I think, again, at the end of the day, like, truly we are a screamo band, you know what I mean? Like the, the page.99 sort of screamo but I can't even call it that. Like I just call it punk because I know they always call themselves punk because that's what it is.
I FEEL LIKE THERE HASN'T BEEN AN ALBUM CRITICAL OF CHRISTIANITY IN A WHILE, AND IT'S KIND OF SURPRISING. LIKE THERE'S A LOT OF SHIT TO BE PISSED OFF ABOUT, EVERY ANTIVAX FACEBOOK POST I READ IS USUALLY FOLLOWED BY SOME DIPSHIT CALLING FOR PRAYER, ALL THE TEXAS ABORTION SHIT CLEARLY BEING CHRISTIAN-LEAD.
Oh, yeah, totally. As far as religion goes, I mean, I don't even fucking believe in that shit. I mean, somebody made that up. Literally, somebody made that shit up. And so when things like that happen, I'm just like, this is fucking psychotic. … At this point it's unhinged and fucked up. And it's another reason why CHRISTFUCKER is so funny. We definitely do not claim any God or Satan. None of it's real. It's not real. [Laughs] … Like, again, one of the first titles before CHRISTFUCKER was just like, "Fuck God." Because it's just such a fucking joke, you know? Like, I've already seen somebody post something like, "This is shameful and … anti-Christian and sinful what you're doing," which is so far from what we're actually trying to do.
I MEAN, IF YOU GET PICKETERS TO SHOW UP AT THE SHOW THAT'LL BE THE FUCKING DREAM.
[Laughs] I was already thinking about that. That would just be fucking insane. We're not afraid of it whatsoever. Everybody has their own opinion. Whatever, but I think that would be fucking hilarious.