Indespair - Time to wake up 4/5

Reviewed: 4-1-13


1. Destined to fail
2. Break the spell
3. Vexilla regis prodeunt inferni
4. A ripper a butcher a demon
5. Tonight we die free
6. To the weak ones
7. Time to wake up
8. The scent of fear
9. Blessed are the fallen
10. An inch from our demise

Last month, I reviewed the new Grimlord CD, ‘V-Column’, and commented on how interesting it was to be checking out a Polish band that falls into the category of neither extreme metal nor power metal. Well, lo and behold, this month’s review queue includes the debut CD of Indespair, another Polish band that avoids the musical stereotypes associated with their countrymen. Rather than the polar extremes of Vader and Pathfinder, Indespair belong on the branch of the Polish heavy metal family tree that includes Made of Hate, although that comparison is tenuous at best. At any rate, Indespair have been a going concern since 2003, yet it took until 2012 for them to record and release a full-length CD, ‘Time to wake up’. The title of the CD sums up Indespair’s musical approach well, as the Wroclaw natives specialize in a brand of straight-up, in-your-face, stripped-down muscular heavy metal without much in the way of nuance or subtlety. Let’s put it this way: If listening to Indespair doesn’t wake you up, then you must be catatonic.

To elaborate, ‘Time to wake up’ is an extremely riffy, mid-paced affair that owes more to American than European heritage. Here and there, one can make out Gothenburg influences, but those are secondary to the no-holds-barred U.S.-style riffing. The guitars plug and chug their way through a satisfying arsenal of meaty riffs that may not be flashy or innovative, but are hugely effective in getting feet tapping and heads nodding. The production is modern, full and pounding, emphasizing the locked-in rhythm section and ripping guitars equally. If there’s one make-or-break aspect to Indespair, it’s the voice of Piotr Krawczyk, who mostly sticks to a clean quasi-melodic bark that is emotive and surprisingly easy to understand (given that he is a non-native English speaker), albeit quite limited in range. Imagine the singer from Sencirow with a diminished range and a harsher overall aspect, and you’d not be too far off the mark. To this “main” singing voice, Krawczyk adds occasional accents that include a harsher growl and a cleaner tunefulness, sometimes juxtaposed in the same song (see “A ripper a butcher a demon” for a good example). Certain traditional-minded listeners may find the vocal approach grating, but I think it actually complements the music well and carries just enough melody and variation to remain interesting.

‘Time to wake up’ is one of those CDs that’s best taken as a single unitary 10-song, 46-minute piece of work. Breaking it down song by song doesn’t really work because the material is sufficiently similar and intertwined in feel and pacing that particular cuts don’t stand out above the fray. And a steady diet of Indespair could become tedious given the overall sameness and the relatively circumscribed sonic repertoire the band invokes. Taken in small doses, however, ‘Time to wake up’ is a headbanger’s delight, loaded with crunchy riffage and parts tailor-made for turning off your brain and rocking out contentedly. Old and new metal fans alike will find much to appreciate with Indespair. I only hope it doesn’t take them another decade to release a proper follow-up to ‘Time to wake up.’ If I could score this one 3.75 I would, but given the available options of 3.5 and 4, I’ll take the latter because this CD is quite worthy and deserves to be heard by a wider audience.




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