Portrayal of Guilt and Stay Asleep find new directions in screamo | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Portrayal of Guilt and Stay Asleep find new directions in screamo


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On last year’s Let Pain Be Your Guide, Austin screamo band Portrayal of Guilt pull off a rare feat, wearing their influences on their sleeves while forging a distinct identity of their own. Over the past decade, screamo has largely comprised bands recycling the same ideas, so it’s noteworthy that Portrayal of Guilt are able to pull from genre stalwarts such as Majority Rule and Pageninetynine without sounding beholden to either of them. In the short time since their self-titled 2017 debut EP, Portrayal of Guilt have gone from a lean trio doling out blasts of hypercharged screamo to a quartet capable of building expansive worlds inside densely packed songs. And those tiny moments are what make Let Pain Be Your Guide so thrilling—with various strains of the genre recalled by slow, doomier passages (“Daymare”), industrial flickers (“Let Pain Be Your Guide”), and even a trace amount of black metal (“Among Friends”), there's a constant suggestion that anything could happen next. Tonight they’re playing with Chicago’s Stay Asleep, who’ve been able to accomplish something similar, albeit with different source material. Stay Asleep mine the sounds that were all but defined by brothers Paul and Todd Burdette—the creative forces behind His Hero Is Gone, Deathreat, and Tragedy—but their music never sounds like pure idol worship. Their songs rarely move in a straight line, instead bringing in dirgier elements and even some nimble little guitar runs that link all the pieces together. The pairing of Portrayal of Guilt and Stay Asleep seems fitting—both groups show that the most devoted students of hardcore’s past are often the most capable of pushing the genre forward.   v

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