In a world cast in increasing chaos and ravening shadows, the heart and determination of a warrior defines those that try to bring defiance and hope to the blackness. Maybe every century past and to come is wrapped in such respective darkness, but the spirit of ‘heroes and viragos’ certainly thrived in medieval times and now within the debut album from US dark electronic collective Dispel.
The fascinating Lore is a concept album embracing the “historic lore, mythology and mysticism” surrounding a hero’s journey in those Middle Ages but equally a tale as agile in inspiring thoughts and experiences echoing the now within an electronic soundscape of darkwave, Neo-Classical, and gothic rock just as primed to ignite ears and imagination. In sound and word, Lore is a captivation; a musical and lyrical tapestry which effortlessly grabbed attention from its very first breath to weave even greater intrigue and compulsion by the listen whether as a broad view and personally intimate incitement.
Dispel is the creation of drummer/keyboardist Scott Dispel, a founding member of old school hardcore band Face Value and currently the drummer for TEXTBEAK whose Mike Textbeak produced Lore. Alongside Scott, the band is completed by the richly magnetic tones of mezzo-soprano vocalist Ravensea and the potent presence of fellow vocalist Sean Gallows. The album also sees guitarist Sean Morrissey and bassist Jae Jones add their dark craft to the adventure , one which swiftly caught the imagination through album opener, Spiritual Warrior (The Hero).
The first track strides forth from an ecclesiastical dawn, its step confident and bold and matched in voice and swing. A tenebrous hue coats every electronic note and Cimmerian shaded syllable escaping Gallow’s throat, the track like a magnetic Clan of Xymox meets John Foxx era Ultravox enticement and quickly and thickly gripping.
The Call (to Adventure) continues the album’s fine start; the just as swiftly enthralling voice of Ravensea radiating from within the song’s gloomier but no less tempting breath and embrace. The less defined fuzz of guitar adds a sinister almost toxic aspect to the track’s air yet is soon engulfed by the electro pop infectiousness of a chorus which had us keenly bouncing whilst prompting thoughts of March Violets in their more synth ‘pop’ styled moments.
The light and romanticism of Ravensea’s voice and the crepuscular instincts of the sounds around her again provide an ear enthralling landscape within next up Modal Consequence (The Threshold). Its melodic mist carries a great Visage-esque shade whilst its rhythmic gait, whether a sombre amble or elevated dance, is thick incitement for song and body before Abyssal Hammer (Chaos) with an instantly more imposing rhythmic swing driven by air splattering eats and the tantalising hum of the bass needs mere seconds to have us hooked. Emerging our favourite song, the track is a warning come declaration of darkness as virulently infectious as it is eagerly menacing and quite superb with the blend of Gallows and Ravensea’s voices pure harmonic charisma.
The first of a pair of “Sacred Choral pieces” is next in the evocative shape of Gift of the Goddess (Andante in Bb), later in the album Atonement (Adagio in Bb)a similarly provocatively woven piece inspired by ‘Infelix ego,’ a Latin meditation composed by Girolamo Savonarola before he was burned at the stake. Each proved a seed for the imagination before the following likes of Hero’s Revelation (The Helper) with its overcast melodic and atmospheric beauty, again centred by the radiance that is Ravensea’s voice, and The Depth of Transformation (The Return) with its Tartarean arising from similarly infernal depths respectively had ears and imagination alive.
Slipping back across the album and between those two pairs of tracks sits Temptation (The Last Test), an enchanting and bewitching slice of electro intimation and vocal glamour as dark as it is lustrous and another song within Lore which got under the skin in an array of ways.
Though it captivated from the first moment it graced ears, enthralment only grew as the tale and melodic electronic adventure within Lore was further were explored and revealed play by play; an emprise sure to connect with your own personal journeys.
Pete RingMaster 25/02/2020
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