|Although Despond have been lingering in the shadows of the underground for many years, they (or better he, as the band is the brainchild of a single individual, Richard Loudin, who is currently again its sole member) never released a full length album until now. As a vicious serpent, the band/project has just waited patiently for the right moment to strike, which was none other than the year 2003, arguably the most successful year for the doom metal genre since the early doom death explosion in 1993. What Despond offer on their debut is not something overly groundbreaking or sensational, but they do it with such skill and conviction that the listener is forced to affirm that Richard must have doom in his veins. Despond's atmospheric doom is grand, majestic and emotional. The music moves along slowly and pompously like a solemn funeral procession. Melancholic leads sing their monotonous dirges accompanied by atmospheric keyboards and Richard's deep, angry growls, which are alternated with the occasional spoken word and disheartening, discouraged sigh.|
The influences are obvious and I have the impression that Richard didn't try very hard to conceal them. They are there as a tribute to his favourite bands, like the opening sequence of 'Once in the hole' which sounds identical to the first notes of Morgion's 'All the glory…' and the amazing outro of 'Grief', which could be a part of any song on Skepticism's 'Stormcrowfleet'. This said, the album is full of surprises as well. Take f.i. the hypnotizing Eastern outro on the abovementioned 'Once in the whole' or the aggressive double-bass part on 'Stellar ways to the everliving'. The clean guitar interludes are very convincing as well and enhance further the hopeless, downbeat mood of the album. The only downside is the somewhat weak sounding drum machine, but this is a minor problem as it doesn't distract from the general flow of the tracks. All in all, this is another album in this impressive year of doom that I would whole-heartedly recommend to all atmospheric doom adorers. I just hope that we won't need to wait that long for the second Despond opus, as this majestic debut asks for more. The French doomsters really spoil us lately with high-quality atmospheric masterpieces. I hope that the trend continues in the future.
2. Once in the hole
3. Serenity in darkness
4. Stellar ways to the everliving
6. Moonlight Suicide
Duration : Approx. 64 minutes
Visit the Despond bandpage.