According to established hideous tradition, I still continue to write reviews a month later after the album is out. This time it happened to Ukrainian band Thy Despair: the band’s debut album named The Song Of Desolation was released via Rockshots Records on May, 8th.
Since 2006 Thy Despair has been through a lot: hiatus and resurrection, pauses in their creative activity, multiple line-up changes and other difficulties, inherent to underground bands. Actually, that explains a lot of things and answer the question “why the debut LP was released only after 14 years of the band’s existence”. But strictly speaking, The Song Of Desolation isn’t the band’s first release: in 2018 Thy Despair released short EP Вільний and its English version The Free One. All the songs from this EP were included in the album.
Frankly speaking, The Song Of Desolation caused particularly mixed feelings and not only mine, according to other reviews. This album has lots of elements which I personally like in Metal: high-pitched female vocals, solid riffs, dark atmosphere and some brutality; separately they sound awesome. Vocalist Elin delivers a good, quite impressive operatic vocals (“Burned By Love”) whereas she also plays with her voice, transmitting emotions greatly when it’s necessary (“Sabbath”, “Army Of The Dead”). Female vocals changed with Nephilim’s growls, creating a classic “beauty and the beast” duo. Clean male vocals are also fit great for the music (“Falling Star”) and I really wonder why Thy Despair don’t use it more often. Navka’s keyboards add the atmosphere to the songs, going Symphonic Metal (“The Free One”, “Burned By Love”) or exploring some darker territories (“Ghost Rider”). Nephilim and Strike’s guitar riffs and solos are solid and brutal from time to time, while Anton’s bass emphasizes the heaviness of the music, allowing himself to go forefront occasionally. Drummer Alex also plays some interesting patterns from time to time.
And seemingly this diversity, joined together should work properly but in practice, unfortunately it is no means always. Sometimes Thy Despair emphasize Elin’s vocal so much (which is reasonable: her voice is real jewelry for the band), it overshadows other instruments. In some moments Elin hits really high notes while Nephilim growls really low and it cause some dissonance; the same thing sometimes happens with keyboards and guitars. Also, there is a serious lack of catchy hooks and moments in the songs, which makes you struggle with wanting to skip the track. I can’t say it about all the songs, no! There are some solid, diverse or just good songs like opening “The Free One” or “Ghost Rider” and still, in my opinion this album is missing something.
Maybe that’s because all these songs were written in 2006-2011 period, according to Nephilim, revamped with more modern and professional arrangements and changed lyrics as well. I can really understand the desire of musicians to show the world their songs, which were carried for a long time, playing them on infrequent gigs. Or maybe the reason is something else, I don’t know and don’t want to speculate. But the fact is The Song Of Desolation sounds like unfulfilled capability. But the good news is that Thy Despair has a capability and there can be a timid hope that the next album will be better. And will be released not in 14 years but a bit earlier.
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