• 6/10
    DESPYRE - Rise Up - 6/10


Pavement Entertainment
Release date: June 7, 2019

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

New York’s Despyre carry on the city’s tradition of producing bands whose music hits hard. The band describe their sound as a “…unique contemporary sound with crunching guitar riffs, pounding bass & drums, and melodic vocal melodies, delivered with a balance of heart stopping screams and notable choral styling.”

Rise Up, the band’s first full length album, opens with “Liberate” and “Regret” two songs permeated with the bottom-heavy crunchy riffs which are solidly in the wheel-house of New York Hardcore Metal fans. Both songs convey compelling primordial heaviness.

After opening with two songs which crush like their contemporaries Pro-Pain and Sick Of It All, the remainder of the album explores modern melodic styles more in line with Life Of Agony, FFDP and Disturbed. Unfortunately, none of their subsequent efforts catch fire. The nearly non-stop vocals overpower the weak riffs in “D.R.U.”. On “Evil Inside” the riffs a merely a placeholder rather than integral part of the song. There’s a downshift in tempo and a bridge with an extended guitar solo but there is neither enough melody nor compelling riffs. The song ends poorly with “whoa, whoa” sung repeatedly. On some songs the vocalist uses odd inflections and guttural screams creating an identity crisis. In other songs different time signatures generate a stumbling awkwardness rather than interesting complexity.

“Hell Freezes Over” briefly returns to the style of opening two songs. It’s a simple song built on the foundation of a steady barrage of doomy riffs and thunderous drum beats. It stands in contrast to prior tracks. The last song “Blue Sky (Reborn)” is a re-envisioning of “Blue Sky” from their 2018 debut EP Irritation. It’s a dreamy and sparse acoustic ballad featuring a female vocalist and the most memorable chorus on the album. It’s rather similar to Queensryche’s “Silent Lucidity.” It has good bones, but needs more flesh. Perhaps with lush orchestral arrangements and an extension of the vocal duet performance.

On Rise Up, Despyre chose not to play to their strengths resulting in an album with varied tracks and spotty results. The lyrics lack captivating hooks and choruses are often difficult to distinguish from verses. Enjoy the opening two tracks at high volume. When the band sticks to the basics of crunching guitar riffs, pounding bass and drums, Despyre impresses.


TRACKLIST (Highlights: 1, 2, 7, 9)

  1. Liberate
  2. Regret
  3. D.R.U.
  4. Evil Inside
  5. Complicated
  6. Twisted
  7. Hell Freezes Over
  8. Underground
  9. Blue Sky (Reborn)


Rob Malvagno – Vocals
Dennis Gaudio – Guitar
Brad Maestro – Guitar, Vocals
Kevin Cassidy – Bass
Dave Riggins – Drums


  • Zac Halter

    Zac was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. His interest in heavy music began in the 70s with his father’s Johnny Cash albums. After cousins introduced him to Steppenwolf, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, KISS, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, Johnny Cash didn’t stand a chance. The 80s were spent in full pursuit of everything Metal: searching for new music at record stores, listening to albums, studying the covers and sleeves, and attending concerts. In the 90s, he preferred Death Metal over Grunge and hosted the Death Metal Juggernaut on WUPX in Marquette, Michigan. It was advertised as the only prime time Death Metal radio show in the country.

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