“Hands Of Despair is a result of this accelerated evolution of extreme metal. A band from Montreal, Quebec, that seeks out to create atmospheric brutality bringing in myriads of different influences into play.”
REVIEW: Things used to be simpler. When the pillars of extreme metal were being constructed and defined in the eighties and nineties, it seemed easier to discern albums, to navigate through the metallic sounds. You were either listening to a thrash metal record, a death metal record or a black metal record. Songwriting approaches ascended to a labyrinth of genre tags, each more sophisticated than the other.
Hands Of Despair is a result of this accelerated evolution of extreme metal. A band from Montreal, Quebec, that seeks out to create atmospheric brutality bringing in myriads of different influences into play. Last year I had the pleasure of reviewing the band’s somewhat age-old release “Hereafter”, a varied progressive extreme metal album showing potential. “Bereft” is more rooted in a black metal blueprint at its core, yet it applies snapshots of post metal/rock sections and progressive rhythmic arrangements to the dramatic execution, these are long songs clocking at nine to ten minutes.
A scalding aggression embodies the screaming vocals, while the clean ones are perhaps a bit too shy or drowning in the mix. (the track “Sleeper” being a good example). The screaming vocal performances are intense, going hand in hand with the epic songwriting. “Veil” boasts my favorite clean singing of the lot, opting for a mid-era Opeth style, same goes for the music, albeit in a more progressive fashion.
Being described as an album with more emphasis on the black metal side of things, the style manifested is a narrative one, rather than full on blasting, misanthropic contempt. “Bereft” is full of detailed, swaying riffs creating engulfing atmospheres contrasted with serene moments of dreary clean guitar arrangements and wistful piano notes as heard on the lavish opener “Reborn”.
It’s a highly interesting route these Canadian youngsters have taken. The songwriting holds great potential, dabbling in so many exciting sound avenues. For fans of distilled extreme metal of the various kinds. Namedropping: Enslaved, Behemoth, Opeth, Katatonia, Agalloch.
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