Her Despair are a five-piece goth rock/metal band from Berkshire in the UK. Formed in 2015 the band started as a solo project and released their debut album “Hymns For The Hopeless”. Now they’ve returned for a follow-up in 2018 with the release of their new EP, “Mournography”. With influences of post-punk, industrial metal and of course goth rock like The Sisters of Mercy, Rammstein and HIM they’ve delivered a sound that blends together the elements of these genres. And here I was thinking goth rock died with HIM, it seems I was wrong!
“Mournography” is comprised of five tracks and from the very first moment I listened to this band I had the immediate feeling that they had a lot of personality in their music, they aren’t bland, repetitive and a band or musician that has a real sense of personality is one that can have a whole lot of charm and that’s what pulls new listeners in, so I’ll give Her Despair loads of props for that. Now let’s take a listen, shall we?
The EP begins with the first single from the EP, Blaspheme With Me. Blaspheme With Me begins with an ominous plucking of strings and a reverberating drum beat before we get a quick taste of the deep vocals before an instrumental intro plays out, bringing in the guitar and bass. The vocals return for the verse and carry a real presence as they are deep, echoing and delightfully simple, they’re not too over the top or energetic but reserved and in a way, subtle. The song fakes you out towards the end by going silent and then crashing back into the infectious chorus. I think this song starts as a great start to the EP and you’ll be able to tell right away if you love it or hate it.
Next up is Valentines’ Mourning and it opens with a high energy drum beat followed by some violin and distorted guitar riffs, the vocals enter into the song as it takes a step back but builds up to the chorus smoothly and this showcases some real light and dark in the vocals. Towards the end of the song they do a bit of a break leading into the final chorus which is very satisfying. Within Tragedy is next and it’s opened with a real emphasis on a repeating guitar riff over a chilled drum beat with subtle violin in the background creating a real dramatic opening, this leads into the vocals which in this song have the notes being long and drawn out eerily as the song builds up which is executed well alongside the other instruments rising in intensity slowly. Being five minutes, it’s fair to say that this song is the slow burn of the album, but it’s worth it for the guitar solo.
Second to last is Damnation Tonight and it’s opened with piano that leads into one of the “heavier” instrumental parts of the album, full of heavily distorted guitar and pounding drums. If I had to pick a weakest song I think it’d be this, but that’s certainly not to say it’s a bad song as it’s got some killer vocalizations, a groovy drum beat and the piano work is gorgeous.
Finally we come to the fifth and final, In The Arms Of A Sadist. The opening to this seven-minute song almost sounds like a strange blend of post-punk and post-grunge due to the deep, “dirty” sounding guitar riffs and slow, depressing kind of vibe. The song hovers over the same tune as it builds up further and further, occasionally pausing the vocals for what seems like an instrumental chorus. The song definitely feels final, it feels like an ending which when you’re looking at the experience of an EP or an album as a whole that’s what you want, to have a strong start and end.
I think this EP did a lot of things right, and if you enjoy anything from goth rock, to post-punk, to metal, to even something like punk or grunge, you’ll enjoy this. It’s both accessible and impressive. Who said goth rock was dead, again? It certainly wasn’t me, No way.
Pick-up your copy of ‘Mournography’ out now, HERE!