Taking the listener and their imagination on a journey through infernal realms, Inferno is the new album from dark electro-goth collective DISPEL. It is a concept album based on Dante’s literary masterpiece and seeing the US trio following Dante and his guide Virgil down each layer of the Nine Hells; a literary and musical adventure for ears which soon proved thickly compelling.
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, DISPEL was formed by drummer/keyboardist Scott Dispel, a founding member of the old-school hardcore band FACE VALUE and former drummer for TEXTBEAK. For his new dark electronic/darkwave/electro rock project he soon enlisted vocalist Ravensea and vocalist/bassist Sean Gallows. Their very well-received debut album, Lore was released early 2020 but its live adventure was soon curtailed by the Covid pandemic. The band used the time to write and create Inferno though, a release two years in the making as it merged classic literature with the just as unique imagination and sound of the trio.
Dedicating a song to each level of mortal sin within its quickly alluring body which also embraces the presence of “diabolical personalities from ancient mythology and fantasy literature”, Inferno soon wrapped itself around the senses. The opening lures and coaxing of Gate Prelude make for an engaging if sinister invitation but one soon taken up with Journey Into Limbo the first step down into the Nine Hells. Its sizzling breath soon sets the atmosphere within, its shadows consuming yet equally Ravensea’s melodic grace and beauty shines. There is a certain eighties gothic rock inspiration and air to the DISPEL sound, one evoking thoughts of Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and the likes but just another rich flavouring to the song’s and band’s creative heat.
The yawning bassy electro breath of the following Dispater’s Lust swiftly burrowed deep in instinctive pleasure, its perpetual nagging irresistible as Gallows tones lead the next episode in the venture. The track is superb, an almost claustrophobic engagement and captivation quickly and greedily devoured before appetite turned aptly to Bog of Gluttony which slowly but firmly smothered the senses in its creative insistence and prowess. Again the shadows are lit by the radiance of Ravensea, a poetic alignment and drama echoing the craft and prowess of its inspiration.
Next up Flames of Greed emerges in an electronic darkwave fog; its shadows courting another great senses numbing hum within which gothic theatre and vocal personality tempts. Crepuscular in its light, tenebrific in its intrigue and temptation as the song courts the darkest threats and anxieties, it is also simply gripped ears and appetite while Geryon’s Wrath prowled matching success with its seductive glide along rapacious waters.
In turn, the song’s mesmeric beauty is echoed in Glasya’s Heresy (Acoustic Version), keys and voice instinctive seduction within a track as magnetically enthralling in word while Rings of Violence ventures through the seventh level of Hell with trepidation but in bold step. Featuring the guest guitar of Leonard Kemenani (Maldurin), the song is an asphyxiation of menacing darkness and contrasting beauty.
Both Citadel of Fraud and Cistern of Treachery gripped attention with pleasure sharing invention, their individual theatres of creativity respectively atypical seduction and caliginous contagion. The first is a raw and imposing trespass of enterprise with its successor another track uncaging a creative nagging, this time rhythmically and electronically using one’s rock instincts like a puppet as the deepest level of Hell virulently rose up around them.
The release closes with Escape Epilogue and its possible last chance of a flight to freedom, a song vocally narrated by Barry Gelderblom which soon closed in on the imagination. Atmospherically suggestive and as firmly captivating, it brings one seriously compelling and ear gripping release to a potent and evocative conclusion; the track echoing Inferno in revealing more of its depths and maybe that of Dante’s work too with every listen.
Inferno is out now @ https://dispelmusic.bandcamp.com/album/inferno and other online music platforms, available digitally and on CD and vinyl.
Pete RingMaster 05/11/2022
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