Monday, August 2, 2010

An Ounce of Despair, a Ton of Awesome

File Under: Hearing is Believing

It is a historical fact that amazingly engineered things come out of Japan. The Katana, the World-War II Era Zero Fighter, consumer electronics, and automobiles are among some of this island-nation’s many claims to fame. Recent automotive manufacturing faux-pas’ aside, when it comes to putting thing one with thing two to make an efficient, purposeful product Japanese scientists and industrialists have, for the most part, definitely showed the rest of the world how to walk this way. However, today I discovered a Japanese export that took me completely by surprise – industrial metal.

I am talking about D’espairsRay and this band holds its own musically. The musicianship and synthesizing are fresh and edgy, a case study in hard-driving metal and artfully orchestrated industrial sounds. The group blends well a mélange of goth, electronic, hard rock, and even alternative pop influences. The resultant sound is a refreshing addition to the new breed of metal characterized by such groups as Killswitch Engage, but this group truly forges their own unique sub category of metal. However, the true beauty of this group is their ability and almost affinity to be style flexible, almost style neutral. Each song is as good as the last and a new experience unto itself.

The music is enough to recommend this band wholeheartedly. However, the group does not rest on its substantial instrumental ability. Where other bands fall flat to my ear this band shines. The vocal presence of the lead vocalist is amazing. Hizumi can belt out blood screams and death growls with the best of the metal maestros of Europe or North America. I could say more about this band, but I am sure you get the point. If you like metal and all of its illegitimate offspring, listen to D'espairsRay - they are good.

May 16, 2010, music in general and metal in specific received an egregious blow with the passing of a an icon and heavy metal legend. I never truly properly eulogized Ronnie James Dio, but truly what else could I possibly add? Dio was, is, and always will be awesome. Therefore, for this metal edition of Hearing is Believing it is only appropriate I leave you with the group that started my love affair with heavy metal. From August in the Year of the Bane, off the debut album of the heavy metal group Dio, here is Ronnie James Dio singing "Holy Diver." R.I.P. Ronnie, if there is a Heavy Metal Heaven it has one Hell of a band...

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