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Debut demo tape from Dispirit, a band led by former Weakling/Asunder guitarist, John Gossard. Since Weakling has gained a small cult following over the years, many people will insist this is total Black Metal. But this insistence will be based more on pre-conceived ideas than on the legitimate listening attention required here. Sure, it has that influence, but there are many other things happening here as well and I think it takes a bit of an open mind to fully appreciate.
The cover art is as blurry as the music. I can't even tell what it is. But I suppose it suits the music perfectly, stirring up a feeling of unease and discordance with its wiggling lines and dark smudged colors.
As the title suggests, this is a "rehearsal" and one should not expect much from the production. But what does come through is rather interesting, just a bit too noisy and droning for my own tastes. Part of the rough sound is genuine accident, but as a fan of Gossard's music for some years now, I know the "blurry" sound is at least partially intentional.
Like Weakling, there are layers of guitars here that seem to bury all else. But unlike Weakling, they never really settle into a solid riff, preferring to drift around obscurely while the other instruments float around within the abyss of sound. It can be pretty terrifying at times, especially when the almost jokingly quiet vocals can be heard here and there. A screech here, a moan there, but overall just buried to hell. The result is deceptively effective though.
One pretty annoying factor here is the lack of audible drums, and they sort of highlight the general flaw of this production. While they are pretty present during the slower build up sections, once things speed up the snare all but disappears. I'm betting this is simply another casualty of poor production. But with music like this, which is so experimental and unorthodox to begin with, it's difficult to understand why they would not have waited to release something of a slightly higher quality of sound. In this way, I think the band is trying a little too hard to appear "pure" artistically at the expense of descent production.
All I can compare this too is Neurosis. Particularly "Souls at Zero." Although, and I do not mean this as a criticism, Dispirit is less Metal and remain on the more "droning" end of things. There are some who may argue that this is plenty Metal simply because the "feeling" is dark and scary, but there is much music with that sort of vibe that has not a guitar riff in it. Not that it really matters, but fans of more traditional metal may have a harder time getting into this.
This recording succeeds at one thing mainly, and that is creating a terrifying atmosphere. I don't think that was the only goal in mind when recording this thing, but I do think it was high on the list of priorities. But with drums and vocals so buried, it's hard to give this a higher rating.
Very interesting band that is one to watch in the coming years, without a doubt.