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Despyre - Rise Up Award winner

Rise Up
by Mike "Bitchin" Bourgeois at 22 July 2019, 7:25 PM

New York is infamous for its aggressive music scene, and I mean both aggressive as in tough characters knowing what they want in music and letting nothing stop them and the music itself, hard, fast, loud, and in your face. From rap to metal to even folk music, the furor is ingrained into the music and has produced such greats as THE NEW YORK DOLLS, TELEVISION, THE RAMONES, ANTHRAX, BEASTIE BOYS, HELMET, the list goes on forever. Their music is cutting edge, raw, emotional and just makes you want to break shit. To get noticed here, you got to be something more than "run of the mill", and with their new release "Rise Up", DESPYRE proves they have what it takes to make it there.

Most notable when I first listened to it was Dave Riggins exceptional drumming, most particularly his pedal work. Sublime yet driving, he never relies on the standard 1212 metronome at high speed sound most people with double kicks do. He mixes in very complex patterns designed to highlight the insane picking Brad Maestro and Dennis Gaudio are throwing down, trying to change them even during a single versus, such as in the aptly named "Complicated".  Throw into the mix Kevin Cassidy's heavy attack on his bass, so heavy you can hear the strings bouncing off frets, and you get metal bliss!

The final piece to this complicated puzzle are the vocals of Rob Malvagno, powerful and defined, what they lack in range are more than made up in passion, aggression, and that growl/scream that he can produce at will is never out of place. From the opening "Liberate" this band never once had me bored, with changes flying fast, both in tempo, rhythm, and key, but yet never sounding forced nor like they've overreacted. "Evil Inside" offered a change up, almost ballad like in nature but classing it as such wouldn't do it true justice. The piano opening to "Twisted' was, well twisted and I loved it. I found myself singing a line from the opening verse for a couple of days (when you hear it you'll know which line) The chorus through is what really got me moved, worthy of a stadium chanting along.

"Underground" is a weird yet wonderful beast of a song, heavy, constantly changing but it still remaining fluid. The harmonies of the guitars during the solo cap off a song written by madmen. The production value is top notch, with perfection seeming to be the goal. The sound is never wrong, with perfect mix and a firm grasp of what an effects rack is for. Whether heard through headphones or a high end home stereo, it was enjoyable to hear. From the guitar and bass to the drums they knew what they wanted sonically and strived to reach that goal.

2019 has been a good year so far, with many bands fighting for my top of the year, and DESPYRE's "Rise Up" just made it that much more difficult. Check it out and see, it'll wow you too! PS I'd like to give a mention to the vocalist who sang on "Blue Sky (Reborn)", but unfortunately I've been unable to find out who she is.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability:  10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Liberate
2. Regret
3. DRU
4. Evil Inside
5. Complicated
6. Twisted
7. Hell Freezes Over
8. Underground
9. Blue Sky (Reborn)
Rob Malvagno – Vocals
Brad Maestro – Guitars
Dennis Gaudio - Guitars
Kevin Cassidy – Bass
Dave Riggins – Drums
Record Label: Pavement Music


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Edited 08 June 2023

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