Gothenburg has produced some controversial bands and some of Death Metal’s most notorious and largest acts to date. Being at the forefront of the Melodic Death Metal movement, the city has pulled a lot of interest and created some great acts. I wouldn’t consider it a place that breeds a lot of variety though, and that’s why DESPITE is such an unusual listen.
Formed in 1998, DESPITE have only just now released their debut album, “In Your Despite” and although normally when you take over ten years to craft your sound and musical movement the album would be mature and thought out. Unfortunately, that’s not what “In Your Despite” has going for it. It has some good things going on, but none of them include maturity or thoughtfulness.
One thing that I did enjoy from DESPITE is the fact that it’s harder than fuck on a rock to classify them. These guys have no needs for boundaries or hesitation in moving in odd directions. Of course, their foundations lie mostly in a Groove oriented Hardcore but there is plenty of Thrash and Death influences to throw about to make most extreme Metal fans happy. Unfortunately, this element that I enjoy so much about the band is also the element that I have the most issues with. Of course, I love the groovy riffs, the odd man out style of leads (like on the somewhat catchy “Rain”), and the guttural barking of the vocals but its some of the more outlandish sections that make “In Your Despite” a bit of a scattershot release. The one time and quick appearance of singing in the opening track, the synth heavy interlude “Mechantical”, or even the Melodic Death sound of “Beast In The Cage” (not to mention the oddly layered vocals on it) tend to not blend as well with their foundations as one could hope. It creates this odd flux of sound on the album that doesn’t necessarily flow as well as it could have and it creates this feeling of being unfocused, which leads to my initial comment of it not sounding mature and thought through. It’s more scattershot then it is cohesive and for a band with a foundation in Groove/Hardcore its not the best combination.
I love the foundational element of DESPITE and when they nail it, they do it well like on the ending track “No Fucking Way”. Too many odd choices and not enough flow prevent this baby from ever taking off though. It was an interesting listen but it could have used a bit more focus.
Songs to check out: “No Fucking Way”, “Rain”, “Mindplague”.
(Online September 8, 2009)