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Suspyria - The Valley Of Despair Award winner

Suspyria
The Valley Of Despair
by Andrew Harvey at 17 January 2023, 5:47 AM

Australian alternative rock/metal band known as SUSPYRIA are a four piece band that formed back in 2018 when vocalist TERENCE STEVENS and guitarist MITCH BLACK came together to put together the band as a way of to ‘channel their passion for music, and explore ideas relating to mental health, addiction and relapse’. The band themselves would go on to say that ‘music is our avenue of expression with which we hope to connect to people on a deep and personal level through lyrics and emotions’. As the band with two members were beginning to get ready to write and record what would go on to be their debut album titled REGRESSION, they brought on two new members, which were CHRISTIAN CENTOFANTI on bass guitar and BEAU GRECH on drums. Their astounding debut album was released in the year of 2019 and they also released the music video for the title track “Regression” in the same year.

Their first album has made an impact of course although for the band, the album was released a short while Covid-19 became a global pandemic so no doubt the band would have felt cut off from the world as everyone else did, where there were no gigs, no rehearsals and all public buildings were mostly closed for the best part of 2020 and 2021. This would have had an effect on the band and no doubt their first album gave an idea as to the band’s writing skills and lyrics which of course relate to mental health, addiction and relapse. I will say the first album was just brilliant in every way, there was also a good balance of slow rock ballads and faster paced songs, so what do the band have in store with their next album titled THE VALLEY OF DESPAIR, you ask? Well let’s get into this brand new album from the Australian headbangers.

The intro track to this monster of an album is “Tabula Rasa” as we hear high end electrifying guitar picking and then boomy drums com crashing in along with vocals plus bass guitar setting the tone for the album opener. The vocals and guitar are certainly bringing out the alternative metal influences the band had before in their debut album, there is so much bite and meatiness to the overall mix as the vocals are merely the hammer being smashed through the walls of the audio spectrum. Even the vocals create a clear contrast as we hear melodic harmonies and roaring passages loud as a lion could but even electric guitar has their own sections short and sweet to stand out from the line up with ripper riffs. Track two is “Vultures” as guitar and vocals are the first two out from the group to make their mark as they contribute until drums again comes charging in as they did before.

There are accenting and pronounced drum patterns as the vocals become darker and more deadly but no doubt the alternative metal vocal vibes are as electric guitar continue to show their almighty righteousness. The vocals also become more rhythmic and they enjoy their own space and given time to expand their range as does electric guitar showing off vibrato but executing it so well. We can now move onto the third track which is “The Damage” as a more mellow but warm electric guitar line is heard as we get a short crescendo before the true metal mania shows up. Even bass guitar has a short time to support vocals as they become more vicious to the point of breaking loose, as we hear electric guitar cutting through the track with bass guitar in tow.

Piano is also in motion as vocals sing on a melodic and emotional note before guitar begins to play accents with drums also, then there is very much a dialogue between each instrument in this ending section. Next up is “Dead In The Water” with a slight symphonic intro and then the maddening guitar and drums are in for the kill, as vocals take a short time to settle into the mix and there is but subtle drum patterns driving the undergrowth for a short time. High end guitar rings out as drums put the foot down with their non stop commotion, as vocals echoes the themes of personal battles with inner demons as the lyrics can certainly be identified as iconic but full of meaning for sure. The metalcore sound is there as well, as we go straight into the next track which is “The Violence” as mega electric guitar riffs are incredible as before.

Drums are symbolic as they do crack on with the earth-shattering implosions of alternative metal chaos as each instrument has it’s part to play in this track, with vocals showing off the sheer talent of how loud and aggressive they can be. As the volume of the track is pushed to the very top breaking the cosmic balance but guitars and drums reserve their spot in the overall mix. Guitar is tossing and turning not being able to control itself and now we head into the next track which is “To The Grave”, this pounds with drums crushing every part of the track with sizzling guitar riffs as there is a more toned down section. Vocals work very well with guitar supporting and drums flexing their creative muscles for the purpose coming into full on beast mode for the chorus parts of the track. Vocals are very good and also memorable as they have so much character, ringing with high end harmonics but also digging down buried in low end thumps of remarkable rock ‘n’ roll.

“Sea Of Doubt” with a slightly more synthetic sound effect to start with before headbanging guitar and drums patterns are in full march as vocals shout loud and proud, even clean vocals have their say in the four minute track as the narrative is driven by vocals sheltering all other instruments. Once more bass guitar has another section to spend some time to show their inner tone and depth, before electric guitars come calling back in to rejoin vocals for another full band unison. There is not much more to say about this track as we head into the next song which is “Hearth Strings” being the eighth track as bouncing electric guitar riffs which are rather less uneven with more of a disjointed rhythm with vocals doing their thing as they bring out the personality of the track as two vocal lines are heard once more so well produced and the difference is overwhelming. Even an emo-hardcore sound can be taken from the vocals, as they do stand out so well.

Then even the breakdown and solo section for guitars and drums is fantastic what a perfect combination of alternative rock and metal influences from each instrument before vocals returns to close out as we head into the final track which is “The Valley”. The final track has more of a substantial opening with keyboard or sound effects luring in the shadows then big enormous guitar comes chopping in with pulsating drums patterns altogether bringing out the concrete force of awesomeness. We can hear the double kick rhythms also as we are coming to closing outro of the album, as electric guitar gives one more thundering solo section as drums do so well to support. All goes quiet brief with an organ sound then a full band unison to basically close out. What a piece of art this album is, everything about is just sublime, each song has it’s own telling of a story perhaps, words of meaning, heavy guitar riffs and ground breaking drums make this band a serious group to contend with. I look forward to hearing more from them and this album is just the start of a glorious career for each member and the band as a whole.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Tabula Rasa
2. Vultures
3. The Damage
4. Dead In The Water
5. The Violence
6. To The Grave
7. Sea Of Doubt
8. Hearth Strings
9. The Valley
Lineup:
Terence Stevens - Vocals and Rhythm Guitar
Mitchell Black - Lead Guitar
Christian Centofanti - Bass Guitar
Beau Grech - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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