Thy Despair

Listen, I have my guilty pleasures, and one of them is female fronted or dual vocals (‘beauty and the beast’ I call it) styled Gothic/symphonic metal (or ‘cleavage-core’, for the kids) . Since the days of Thalarion and Beseech, How Like A Winter, early The Gathering, Theatre of Tragedy, Draconian, Epica and Delain and Tristania, and more recently  End My Sorrow and Dysrider, I’ve been a sucker for the stuff. But nothing has really grabbed me recently.

So out of curiosity, I checked out Thy Despair (after seeing some of the above bands mentioned in the promo email), and unfortunately, that’s not about to change. The debut from this Ukrainian male/female fronted act ( who were called Thoughts of the Desperate early in their formation) is a bit of a hot/cold affair, that sometimes hits the spot just right, but at times can be a bit cringey.

Bridging the gap between chunky melodic death metal and symphonic female fronted metal, Thy Despair is fronted by guitarist/vocalist ‘Nephilim’  who pens/plays decent, well produced riffs and has a competent growl and rasp and female crooner ‘Elin’, who has the requisite dramatic (sometimes overly) swells and  sometimes impressive operatic, soprano pipes.

And sometimes they don’t quite jive, especially early on in the album a heard in “The Last One”, and “Sabbath”, “Fear and Despair” and “Last Breath” as Elin goes a bit overboard. But occasionally the band hit on something decent such as “Burned by Love”, where even with Elin still hamming it up, the band delivers a catchy little keyboard backed romp and solo. Or stern chug of “War” and “Army of Dead” (and its deliciously hokey, but enjoyable, SCA/LARP promotional video above), where the band lock into a pretty solid last few moments. The requisite ballad “Falling Star”, actually delivers a solid slower pace with some clean male vocals added to the keyboard drenched drama.

And speaking of keyboards, Olena Navka, actually ends up as the star of the show with her playing, making even the bad songs have some nice synth backed moments. But then its back to the slightly overly done “Ghost Rider” and closer “Falcon”.

Not a bad album by any means, but the thing is despite some of the decent moments, all this album made me do is go back and listen to Dysrider’s Bury The Omen and End my Sorrow‘s …Of Ghostly Echoes.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 10th, 2020

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