Despereaux and The ‘Cursed’ EP.
Upon reading that Despereaux hailed from Norway, I expected heavy and heavy was what I indeed received but in a manner that far out-weighed the band selling themselves as simply a Hardcore band.
Cursed is their third release in total and see’s the band play with their influences unashamedly on a solid foundation of Hardcore Punk but with progressive feelers thirsty for diversity.
You could easily portion-off elements of the Despereaux sound as Melodic Hardcore, Post-Hardcore and even Progressive Rock and Metal in places, sitting true to the band’s citation of Tool in the latter of those.
The constant contrast between crooning melodic vocals and a classic Post-Hardcore strained scream is intense an unrelenting. The band’s guitar tones and rumbling bass work constantly edge between progressive Punk and Metal and in such a away that you on the edge of your seat for the duration and that is just the first of three.
‘Brickwall’ employs the classic stop-start formula for a track more in-line with the Punk stylistics of Despereaux that were trailed behind the ‘Oppenheimer’. The screams of ‘I build brickwall around myself […]’ are almost a haunting and wouldn’t be nearly as effective without the complimenting guitar tone that takes an already emotional number far beyond simple catharsis.
The all important eponymous ‘Cursed’ is intense from the very moment it greets you, with melodic rhythms stop and starting in complete frustration with the near constant vocal strains.
From 0:45 Despereaux slow down. The aggression and sharpness of the instrumentation subsides into an almost reflective refrain that goes on classically so in calm before the band’s most reserved vocals are showcased. This side of the band is in such stark contrast to their abrasion that I can’t help but want more but alas, it is not meant to be.
The band’s Hardcore aggression with its soaring guitar melodies and fierce metallic riffage guides you to the end of an EP that for a simple three-track effort, is not only viscerally hard hitting, but thoroughly engaging.
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