Depiction of Guilt’s harrowing soundscape will fill the Hi-Dive
Matt King is a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein when it comes to his music. As the singer and guitarist from Austin, Texas, of the trio Portrayal of Guilt, King separates and assembles sounds and samples to create an edgy metal monster.
In 2021, the group released two albums – CHRISTFUCKER and We were always alone – which take the repulsive musical mix to a new level. King says the discs are akin to soundtracks to horror films such as Roman Polanski’s 1965 psychological thriller Repulsion.
“A lot of times when you watch movies, especially horror movies, there are things like scary jumps. And they sort of bother the viewer by doing things with the music, like turning up the volume or different soundscapes. That’s what we’re trying to get involved in,” he explains. “We had a lot of material to manage and work to make this happen. I would like to think that our music without or with singing can mark a film or be in a film.
Listening to the discordant dichotomy of Portrait of Guilt squeezes your chest; sweaty palms and a racing heartbeat soon follow. It’s not that you don’t know what’s going on, but that you know exactly what’s going on: This band is playing with you, pawing at you, seeing how far they can push it. What makes it so unsettling is that the band likes to do it.
“Oh, definitely. That’s for sure what we want him to do,” King says of making listeners feel uncomfortable, especially on CHRISTFUCKERThe songs from “Bed of Ash” and “…where the suffering ends”. “When you get to record an album and you have the tools, part of it is just having fun with it,” he adds. “There were a lot of vocal ideas, and the guitars and sounds and samples, too. We just wanted it to sound ridiculous, which is sort of behind the name of the album anyway. It’s so ridiculous, then the music is as ridiculous as the title.
Experience it for yourself during the hi-dive on Tuesday September 20th. Thieves Guild and Edith Pike also feature on this Convulse Records poster.
Although it might not be obvious on first listen, King shares that Korn and Dystopia were two bands he played with during the writing process for the past two years. He also admits that borderline attention deficit disorder is also found in the music of Representation of Guilt.
“I’m into a lot of different things. I like heavy music, but I like music with a unique sound and it’s not that simple. Also, my attention span is very short, so there must be a lot of different things to keep my attention. The writing goes with that,” he adds. “I really like weird sounds. When people compliment music, I appreciate it, because I feel like I have a weird, specific way of playing guitar and writing music just because I’m self-taught I guess I don’t know the right or wrong way to do it I’m not a guitar shredder I’m more focused on songwriting so I hope writing of songs itself is what draws people in. I hope.”
Trying to dissect Portrayal of Guilt uncovers snippets of shouto, crust punk, hardcore, black metal, noise and grindcore from the 1990s. King, the mad scientist that he is, is also a gearhead and is obsessed with looking for the right tone to bring all these quirks together.
“[I’m] really using a lot of reverb, chorus and clean sound. I guess I’m trying to find a new way to create heavy music that’s just different. I can’t even say that everything we do is heavy music,” he says, adding that the band plays with the same equipment they record with, which makes the show as moody as the albums.
King wants people to “be scared” when they come to a show about portraying guilt.
“I feel like the most important thing is to get those sounds live; you can’t impersonate that. The live show is definitely what you want. If you like our songs, you have to see them live,” he adds.
Perhaps the scariest part about King and his bandmates, Alex Stanfield (bass) and James Beveridge (drums), is that they haven’t created a monster yet that they’re totally happy with.
“I guess in the long run, yes, but it’s not entirely realized,” King says of the trio’s insatiable appetite for experimenting and creating something that’s nearly impossible to categorize. “That’s it, somehow, just relentless growth within songwriting.”
Representation of Guilt, 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 20, hi-dive, 7 South Broadway. Tickets cost between $15 and $18.