Her Despair – Mournography

Mournography is an exploration into the mysteries of tragedy, blasphemy, death, and love; both literally and figuratively…The mourning of some, the lust of others. These songs praise and pervert the Word of God simultaneously: providing a deeply unsettling spiritual experience set to a bleak backdrop of melancholia.”

The words accompanying the new EP from UK goth/dark metallers Her Despair perfectly encapsulate its tone, heart, and seduction. It is a journey into dark places as broad as they are intimate through a sound as melancholic, thickly shadowed, and mesmeric as the emotion laden words within.

Formed in 2015, Berkshire hailing Her Despair began as the solo project of J; the album Hymns For the Hopeless its introduction that April. It set down the seeds and template for the rich fusion of atmospheric and emotive gothic and dark rock with the trespass of punk and metal. It was a captivating raw mix within that first encounter but now with Her Despair a fully-fledged band makes for one richly compelling proposition within the new encounter.

With guitarists Dan and Jord, bassist Vikki, and drummer Lee alongside vocalist J, and recorded with Matt Bew at Whitehouse Studios in Reading, Mournography immediately strikes the imagination as it opens up with Blaspheme With Me. Straight away there is a tenacity and controlled urgency in rhythms as the guitars entangle their lures; an energy which fuels every aspect of the emerging song until it hits a boisterous stroll behind the enticing tones of J. Hues of bands such as Sisters of Mercy and Fields of the Nephilim collude with the uniqueness of Her Despair as the track grows, each essence adding to its captivation and seamlessly changeable gait. The outstanding song epitomises the band’s sound; it’s embracing of sturdier metal traits with its gothic instincts.

The following Valentine’s Mourning similarly has a raw energy and swing to its attack driven by the senses nagging boisterousness of rhythms with this time harsher punk essences infesting its character. Keys add to the melodic seduction and flames tempting within whilst as with the first track, an organic catchiness brings something akin to bands like Dommin to the imagination.

A darker calm caresses ears next with Within Tragedy; it’s almost funereal march an imposing yet rousing incitement matched in tone and intimation by the air and words escaping J’s vocals. The track is pure seduction with heavy drama in its tone and an immersive lure to its rich web of almost threatening romance.

Charming keys and harmonic calm opens up Damnation Tonight next, their coaxing soon immersed in the song’s thick theatre of sound and intimation. Though missing the final spark of imagination of its predecessors, the track simply tempted and embroiled ears and thoughts in its creative and emotive melodrama as the body instinctively swung to its virulent inclination.

In the Arms of a Sadist brings the EP to a close, it too making a calm entrance with reflection colouring word and sound. It is a dark brooding though which escalates throughout, sometimes ebbing as the track and J’s vocals reach deeper into the heart but always giving a magnetic shadow and trespass to the dark intoxication.

It is a fine conclusion to a release which fascinates from start to finish. Possibly there is a lack of individual surface uniqueness between the five tracks making up Mournography yet each enthrals in their own ways, more so with attention and time, and united ensures from start to finish the EP transfixes and impresses; increasingly so by the listen.

Mournography is released July 20th; available @ https://herdespair.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/herdespair/   https://twitter.com/herdespairband

Pete RingMaster 17/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

The Imaginary Hat – Age of Anxiety

Photo by Beth Eloise Fraser

Hailing from England’s capital, The Imaginary Hat creates a sound self-penned as 1920s Punk Rock. As much as your imagination might work with that tag it will only guess at the rich mix of flavours making up the band’s music and new EP Age of Anxiety. Alongside their fusion of rock, punk and 20’s inspired jazz you can find essences of rockabilly, swing, folk and more. It makes for a proposition and new release which is unpredictable, mischievous, and seriously appetising.

The London based outfit formed in 2014 and swiftly earned a potent, attention luring reputation for their music and live presence across the capital and beyond. This year has seen the band emerge with a new and expanded line-up and now second EP, Age of Anxiety, the successor to their well-received debut, Ladies And Gentlemen Kindly Remove Your Hats released this past January.

The spirited rhythms of drummer Phil Joyce kick EP opener Pretty Little Features into life, their increasingly tenacious antics luring ears, appetite, and the guitar jangle of Luke Fraser. Swiftly his vocals also jump in, the track bouncing round with its fifties rock ‘n’ roll scented jazz punk. With a touch of eighties band The Stargazers to it and also the jump blues hues of a Louis Jordan, the song leaps and swings, successfully insisting on the same from the listener. Punk riffs taunt throughout as the flames of Nick Smith’s Trombone unite with the sax of Oscar Ives-Owen; each adding to the virulent contagion of an outstanding start to the release.

A trombone sigh brings up the following Tick Tick Tick, its enticement soon joined by the boisterous stroll of Sam Dimond’s magnetic bass. Vocals again simply entice as they dance devilishly within the similarly insistent sounds around them, enterprise which becomes more bedlamic and frantic by the second but with reins which hauls the chaos back into a just as addictive imaginative canter. You can call the track whatever style you wish but at its heart it is punk rock and relishing its anarchy.

Right Side is next, uncaging a thick dark grumble around another instinctively catchy lure of rhythms. It is infectiousness and swing echoed in Fraser’s vocals as the track prowls, as good as stalks ears and imagination. Bordering blues funereal in gait, salacious seduction in tone, the track physically smoulders as it sears itself into the memory, it too becoming more hellacious in tone and texture by the handful of seconds.

The Imaginary Hat is back in full bounce with Monkey Glands straight after, the track like a swing jazz equivalent of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers at their devilish while Until One Of Us Dies closes up the release with its dark seduction. Both tracks just hit the spot, the first a collusion of punk ’n’ roll fuelled flavours akin to Eighteen Nightmares at the Lux meets The Strangler Figs under the tutelage of Cab Calloway with its successor unleashing flames of jazz conjured rock with increasing rigour across a landscape as mercurial as it is dramatic.

Though into their fourth year, 2018 might be the moment The Imaginary Hat get crowded by much broader and eager attention. Their two EP’s this year, especially Age of Anxiety, give evidence that it is more than deserved.

Age of Anxiety is out now, available @ https://theimaginaryhat.bandcamp.com/music

https://www.theimaginaryhat.com/    https://www.facebook.com/theimaginaryhat/    https://twitter.com/theimaginaryhat

Pete RingMaster 17/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright