Between wolf and man.
-- Despite the Reverence --
Review written by Stijn "Metal Shredder" Daneels.
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
Last spring Despite the Reverence’s guitarist Johnny personally introduced me to his band and to their latest single “Reckless Hero.” A very fun tune which I later played in one of the early episodes of BELGIAN METAL SHREDDER ON AIR. And now he has sent me the full release, ready for me to shred for my pleasure and yours too of course!
“Plethora” is the fourth album from the Canadian hard rock band Despite the Reverence, formed in 2011. “Plethora” is released independently. While they describe themselves as just hard rock, Despite the Reference also has a lot in common with stoner rock as well as sharing elements with punk rock and heavy metal.
For the most part, the sound on “Plethora” is bass-heavy, melodic guitar work, its songs narrated by clean, howling vocals occasionally changed into growls and pacing that goes from slow and moody to fast and energetic. Tracks like “Into the Void” and “Liar of the Wolf” are catchy stoner tunes while songs like “Powerful Men,” “Creating Ethos” and “Suicide Winds” have heavier riffing and many more harsh vocals, with the latter song even evoking a doom metal feel with its slow, thunderous riffs and echoing vocals. Finally there’s also a gentle two-minute acoustic guitar intermission called “Under Blackened Skies.”
Overall, “Plethora” has good energy and finesse to it. Tom’s vocals are engaging and he smoothly transitions from clean to harsh, Johnny yanks out plenty of sweet solos and Brad and Jordan provide the necessary pacing throughout the entire release. “Plethora” isn’t a long album, clocking in at about 30 minutes and except for some unnecessary introductory samples Despite the Reverence gets straight on with the stoner metal fun!
The entire album has a Darwin-inspired survival of the fittest setting, with most of the songs on “Plethora” dealing with living in the harsh wilderness and dealing with the many dangers within. This setting is also beautifully represented in the album’s cover art. The undead gunslinger of the cover reminds me of a combination of Caleb, the blood-thirsty protagonist from the old-school shooter game series Blood and Marvel’s antihero the Ghost Rider! And our badass main character is standing in a wasteland surrounded by hungry wolves, whose pitch-black, detailed furs, glowing yellow eyes and saliva-dropping mouths full of sharp teeth give them a very intimidating appearance.
[SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
Tough pick to be honest, I love the mesmerizing vocals on “Into the Void,” the blood-pumping riffs on “Reckless Hero,” the intimate atmosphere of the title track, the dreary, slow but hard pounding beats of “Suicide Winds” and the soaring guitars on “Creating Ethos.” Yeah, that pretty much cuts it.
I felt that the opening instrumental track, “Wilderness” dragged on a bit, personally I would’ve shortened the rain and bells opening section to just 20 seconds instead of a full minute and then do the rest of the otherwise nicely atmospheric beginning.
8 undead gunslingers out of 10. With their fourth studio album Despite the Reverence provides us all with a plethora of tunes that every lover of heavy, atmospheric tunes will certainly enjoy. Here’s the music video for “Reckless Hero,” filmed in the beautiful snow-covered Canadian nature.