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Her Despair - Mournography [EP] (2018) - Review

Band: Her Despair
Title: Mournography [EP]
Release date: 20 July 2018
Label: Self-Released

01. Blaspheme With Me
02. Valentine's Mourning
03. Within Tragedy
04. Damnation Tonight
05. In The Arms Of A Sadist

From UK comes a new name inside the gothic metal genre, Her Despair, and even though that the band formed in 2015 as a solo project of vocalist named just J and released the debut album, Hymns For The Hopeless, that same year, didn't get much recognition with it. Now Her Despair comes in a different form, as a fully-fledged band and are about to release a new EP named Mournography. On the new EP Her Despair sounds way different than on the debut album, even if the musical direction is pretty much the same, the whole feeling and sound is just like from another band. Those of you who have heard their debut album will of course notice the change in vocals and even more in the sound of guitars, which if I'm true to myself I liked before a bit more, that tuned down doomish atmospheric sound reminiscent of My Dying Bride is missed here, as well everything is much more upbeat and powerful, but still the band sounds coherent and offers a gothic metal album with "balls".

Mournography consists of five tracks that are in their basis gothic metal oriented, but with strong influence of gothic rock, with some punk raw energy, yet there's are some typical doom, hard rock and heavy metal hints added into this sonic output. It's difficult to talk about any kind of originality here, except for vocals, which are quite unique and I don't recall that I've heard something similar in this very genre where almost all vocalists sound almost the same. J with his raspy, deep and strong baritone vocals adds certain coldness and feeling of melancholy to the sound of his band, although his singing style could be a bit more varied and dynamic in my opinion. Nevertheless, Her Despair sounds like a mixture between Paradise Lost from their mid era, Nosferatu, London After Midnight, Danzig and The Sisters Of Mercy from Vision Thing, but there's also some dark romanticism that could have its roots in Finnish bands like HIM, The 69 Eyes, Charon or Entwine, and of course, as I mentioned before, some punk vibes that might have its roots in bands like Misfits or The Damned. Still Her Despair makes a twist on all these styles and influences.

Her Despair have their own characteristics and are certainly bringing some new life into gothic music. I already said some words about the vocals, but the strongest point is very effective rhythmic line, nice gothy keys adding the necessary depth and sparkling gothic rock guitars that are constantly in the mix with heavier riffs and occasional solos. Compositions are often melodic and energetic, opening with "Blaspheme With Me", a captivating and strong gothic/punk/metal driver serving with catchy vibrant rhythms, metallic riffs and pounding drum beats which are in a nice contrast with vocals and gothy/horror synths. That comes even more into the forefront on the next one, "Valentine's Mourning", which is sounding more like a horror metal/rock than a real gothic metal piece. Then "Within Tragedy" is more moody and melodic, yet it hits hard and is way more doomy, with a nice flaired synth work making a very thick and special dark veiled backdrop. "Damnation Tonight" follows the same principles like the first two tracks, while in the end we are graced with another doomy, melancholic and moody track, the darkest one here named "In The Arms Of A Sadist". Pretty cinematic gothic/doom/rock/metal with a nice rhythmic and chord progression while it nicely builds up in tension.

Her Despair with Mournography deliver a decent sounding gothic metal release that is rarely heard these days. There are some things that could be done better, for example the production could be a bit more clean and deep, but I suppose that the band wanted their sound to have kind of a raw edge. The lyrics are an exploration into the mysteries of tragedy, blasphemy, death and love, and are sometimes just like kind of Cradle Of Filth's ones adapted for children. All in all, this EP is not to be missed by fans of any kind of gothic/dark metal and is recommended to everybody who fancies all of above mentioned bands.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7/10